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Rekindled Lions Put on a Show

November 20, 2000|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two weeks into the Gary Moeller era, the Detroit Lions are looking like a team to avoid.

Charlie Batch tied his career best with three touchdown passes, the Lion defense forced four turnovers and their special teams set up two scores as Detroit embarrassed the New York Giants, 31-21, Sunday.

"The defense and the special teams have been great for us all year," said Batch, who came into the game with the lowest rating (65.0) among NFC starting quarterbacks. "We knew if we could put some points on the board, we could be a real good football team."

The win was the second in a row for the Lions (7-4) since Moeller took over after an emotionally drained Bobby Ross quit unexpectedly two weeks ago.

More important, it gave Detroit a tiebreaker edge with the Giants (7-4), who have lost two consecutive at home and did not play well in either.

Moeller was more concerned with the Lions' upcoming schedule. They play New England on Thanksgiving and at Minnesota the following Thursday, which means they will have three games in 12 days.

"We aren't in the playoffs yet," Moeller said. "We still have to earn it. We have a tough game on Thursday, but right now they are listening and we have a real good focus."

Coupled with Philadelphia's 34-9 win over Arizona, the Giants slipped into second place in the NFC East, a half-game behind the Eagles (8-4).

"This is a blown opportunity," Giant offensive tackle Lomas Brown said. "Guys who [don't] realize how much of a blown opportunity this is should wait a few weeks when we're sitting there saying, 'We should have beaten Detroit.' That always happens with the games you should win and you don't."

The Lions never gave the Giants a chance in this one, making plays and capitalizing on mistakes by New York, which also played poorly losing to the St. Louis Rams last week.

Batch's touchdown passes covered five yards to Walter Rasby, seven yards to Herman Moore and 32 yards to Johnnie Morton, the last one giving the Lions a 28-0 lead early in the third quarter.

James Stewart scored on a one-yard run and Jason Hanson kicked a 19-yard field goal as Detroit matched its season-high point total playing behind a revamped offensive line.

Kerry Collins ran four yards for a touchdown and threw touchdown passes of two yards to Dan Campbell and 13 to Joe Jurevicius for New York, which was hearing boos from its fans by the end of the second quarter. When Jurevicius scored, only a few thousand from the crowd of 77,897 remained.

"We have to get angry about the way we played the last two weeks and do something about it," said Collins, who completed 29 of 51 for 350 yards.

Batch finished 20 of 32 for 225 yards and one meaningless interception late in the game.

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