If this is supposed to be the easy part of the New York Giants’ schedule, what happens when it gets tough?
The Giants, who needed 2nd-half comebacks to beat Detroit and Atlanta the past 2 weeks, had to go overtime Sunday to beat the Lions again, 13-10, on a 33-yard field goal by Paul McFadden.
“I’m pleased with our position, but I’m somewhat frustrated with the way we’ve been struggling,” Giant Coach Bill Parcells said. “I just hope that now that we’re pretty much into division rivalries, it will generate more solid performances.”
The Giants (6-3) have won 4 of 5 to lead Washington and Phoenix by 1 game in the NFC East.
Detroit (2-7) put up a struggle, but gave the game away in overtime when 4th-string quarterback John Witkowski and Garry James mishandled a handoff on the first play of the extra period. Lawrence Taylor recovered for the Giants on the Lions 22 and 3 plays later McFadden connected.
“I didn’t even get the handoff,” James said. “We’ll just have to wait and see (on film) what happened. It’s a tough situation. If you have to fumble, you want to do it on the other side of the 50, not inside the 20.”
Witkowski, who also was unsure as to how the ball got away, was in the game because Rusty Hilger was knocked out by a slight concussion in the final quarter.
“I had no problem with the snaps,” Witkowski said. “I was very comfortable. I thought I put the ball in a good position (for the handoff) but it got knocked out somehow.
“The way it ended didn’t go hand in hand with the way I had it in my mind.”
The Lions tied the score, 10-10, on Eddie Murray’s 37-yard field goal with 5:19 left in regulation.
McFadden’s 57-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the 4th quarter fell far short.
Hilger’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Chadwick gave Detroit a 7-0 lead on the 1st play of the 2nd quarter.
McFadden kicked a 42-yard field goal late in the second quarter and Joe Morris’ 1-yard touchdown run gave the Giants a 10-7 lead with 4:47 left in the 3rd quarter.