Lions' Kitna solid in preseason opener, but Giants' Manning struggles

DETROIT (AP) -- The New York Giants couldn't put together another last-minute road win.

This time, they didn't care.

With Eli Manning on the bench and Super Bowl heroes David Tyree and Plaxico Burress back home, David Carr and the Giants couldn't come from behind in a 13-10 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.

"It's too bad. It would have been nice for us to finish off the game," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "But the idea is to improve from the first preseason game to the second. We've got a lot to work on."

Manning, the Super Bowl MVP, struggled on his only two series, completing two of six passes for 19 yards in his first game since leading the Giants to a 17-14 championship game win over New England. He was 0-for-3 on New York's first possession, including two passes that were knocked down by Lions linemen.

"Obviously, we've got some work to do, but that's what the preseason is for," said Manning, who was missing several key receivers due to injury. "It was good to go up against a different defense and it was good to see the receivers in live action."

Eddie Johnson's 31-yard field goal with 2:47 left put the Giants down 13-10. They trailed New England 14-10 in the final moments of February's Super Bowl.

This time, though, it was Carr at the helm of the offense, trying to resurrect a disappointing career. The former No. 1 pick got New York as far as the Detroit 40, but an intentional grounding penalty was followed by a sack, and the Lions hung on for the victory.

"I wish he had gotten a chance to finish it off," Coughlin said. "We had plenty of time, and he had us in great position."

Both teams pulled their starters after the first quarter, when the Lions led 7-0. Detroit scored on the game's opening drive when Roy Williams broke free of Michael Johnson's tackle and went 20 yards with a short pass from Jon Kitna.

In his two drives, Kitna went 6-for-7 for 106 yards and the touchdown to Williams. He wasn't sacked, something he has rarely been able to say in his first two seasons with Detroit.

"That's been the emphasis all offseason," he said. "When we have good protection, the turnovers are going to go down. When you're not under duress, you have the ability to make better decisions."

Detroit's first-team offense struggled on the ground, though, as Tatum Bell carried seven times for eight yards.

"Not good enough," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. "The key to everything is running the ball. It's hard work, but we have to stay at it."

Anthony Wright led the Giants on their first sustained drive late in the second quarter, and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 33-yard field goal to make it 7-3. Jason Hanson answered with a 50-yarder in the last minute of the half to restore Detroit's seven-point lead, but strained a thigh muscle on the play.

Johnson, who works mostly as a backup punter, missed a 37-yard field goal midway through the third. The Giants then tied the game with 12:09 left on Carr's 13-yard pass to Craphonso Thorpe.

Drew Stanton, Detroit's third-string quarterback, had three long runs as the Lions drove deep into Giants territory in the final minutes.

"I liked the way he moved the ball down the field," Marinelli said. "He showed some awareness and threw some nice passes."

The drive stalled at the New York 23, but Johnson's field-goal attempt was kicked down the middle.

Game notes
Detroit's first-round pick, tackle Gosder Cherilus, had three penalties -- one for holding and two false starts -- and was booed by the crowd. ... The Giants had four wide receivers on the inactive list, including a pair with local ties -- Mario Manningham (Michigan) and Burress (Michigan State). ... Giants rookie LB Jonathan Goff fractured a bone in his back in the second quarter and didn't return. ... Lions CB Stanley Wilson (Achilles' tendon) and LB Gilbert Gardner (concussion) will have more tests on Friday, as will Hanson. ... The teams played in the regular season last year, with the Giants beating Detroit 16-10 on Nov. 18, the fourth of an 11-game road winning streak that culminated in the Super Bowl victory in Arizona.


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