Trick play, effective quarterback Matthew Stafford get Detroit Lions win over New Yorko Giants, 31-26

Lions outside linebacker Devon Kennard, right, returns a fumble for a touchdown while getting past New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley in Detroit on Sunday. (AP photo)


AP Sports Writer

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions were waiting for the right time and team to try a trick play they’ve worked on in practice recently.

Early in the fourth quarter Sunday, the New York Giants proved to be the perfect opponent.

Matthew Stafford threw a 41-yard flea flicker to Kenny Golladay to restore a double-digit lead Detroit needed to help them hold on for a 31-26 win over the slumping Giants.

“That was a good one,” Stafford said. “A great call.”

Detroit’s first-year offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, called for Stafford to pitch the ball to J.D. McKissic to the right and for the running back to throw a lateral back to the quarterback to connect downfield with Golladay.

“I was holding my breath on that one,” Lions coach Matt Patricia acknowledged.

Bevell used the same play with McKissic taking the pitch from Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson for a 38-yard touchdown to Paul Richardson in a win over the Giants two years ago.

The Lions (3-3-1) enjoyed the feel-good moment as part of a much-needed win after losing three straight games and trading away safety and captain Quandre Diggs to Seattle days before the game.

Stafford finished 25 of 32 for 342 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He threw a 49-yard TD pass to Marvin Hall late in the first quarter and connected with Golladay for two scores in the second half.

In the last three home games, Stafford has thrown 10 TDs with just two interceptions and is averaging 332 yards passing.

“There’s a bunch of great players around me,” he said, refusing to take credit.

New York (2-6) had chances to come back, but they turned the ball over on downs at the Lions 39 with 6:25 and at their 14 with 3:27 left.

Giants rookie Daniel Jones threw a 4-yard TD pass to Saquan Barkley and an extra point pulled them within five points with 1:19 left to play. The ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, sealing Detroit’s victory.

Golladay had 123 yards receiving and two scores on six catches. Danny Amendola caught eight passes for 95 yards. RB Tra Carson had a career-high 34 yards on 12 carries, starting in place of the injured Kerryon Johnson.