There have been a lot of people waiting for the New York Giants defense to wake up this year. It finally did Sunday against the Detroit Lions, after an animated halftime speech by linebacker Harry Carson.
Animated might be a polite way to describe what Carson did to inspire the Giants to a 30-10 victory over the Detroit Lions. He kicked the Giants’ coaches out a defensive meeting, raised his voice and threw a chair or two, according to teammates Eric Dorsey and Pepper Johnson.
The result was the Giants held the Lions to 13 yards in the second half and 113 for the game. Meanwhile, the New York offense also woke up and got a 51-yard touchdown pass play from Phil Simms to Stephen Baker and 3 field goals from Raul Allegre in scoring on 4 straight third-quarter possessions.
The Lions lost their sixth straight after a season-opening win.
“I don’t have anything to say,” the normally talkative Carson said afterwards. “I don’t want people taking what I said the wrong way. We play these guys again in 2 weeks.”
Teammates said Carson was more talkative at halftime, after leaving the field trailing, 10-7, and hearing the fans booing wildly.
“Harry put all the coaches in the defensive meeting out and raised his voice,” Johnson said. “With him raising his voice and tightening his face, I didn’t even have to hear what he was saying. The expression on his face told us how bad he wanted it.”
And the Giants (4-3), tied for first place in the NFC East with Washington and Phoenix, played like they wanted it.
The defense stopped Detroit on its first 4 possessions of the second half, limiting the Lions to 16 plays and minus-19 yards. Quarterback Rusty Hilger missed on all 7 pass attempts while under constant pressure.
Hilger finished with 9 completions in 28 pass attempts for 130 yards, with 1 interception. New York’s defense gave the Giant offense good field position, and Allegre converted it into field goals of 33, 48 and 25 yards.
Simms completed 23 of 32 passes for 320 yards, including touchdowns to Baker and Mark Bavaro.