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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
John Fennelly

Throwback Thursday: Giants batter Lions, 35-7, in 1996

The New York Giants will face the Detroit Lions for the 46th time in their history this Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The series is not one of the brighter spots in the Giants’ 97-year history. They are 21-24-1 against the Lions’ franchise going back to 1930, when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans. They moved to Detroit and became the Lions in 1934.

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The Giants have not lit up the scoreboard against Detroit. They have scored over 20 points only 15 times and over 30 just three times: 35 points in 1943 and 1996 and 30 points in 1988. The Giants won all three of those games.

The Giants will seek to make it four games over 30 points this week as the Lions enter Sunday’s game allowing 29.3 points per game.

In the 1996 game, the 2-5 Giants — in Dan Reeves’ final year as head coach — traveled to the Pontiac Silverdome to face Wayne Fontes’ 4-3 Lions.

The Giants defense came to play, especially the secondary, intercepting Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell three times and his backup, Don Majkowski, twice.

Defensive back Maurice Douglass and defensive tackle Ray Agnew both returned interceptions for touchdowns. Safety Tito Wooten, who also had a pick in the game, blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety.

“At one point, I talked to a cornerback on the way off the field,” said Lions wide receiver Herman Moore. “I asked him, ‘Are we that predictable?’ And he said, ‘Honestly, yes.'”

The Giants’ defense held future Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders to just 47 yards on 16 carries.

“We are always striving to create turnovers,” Douglass said. “We thought that if we could contain Barry, we would force Mitchell to pass a lot, and that we could force mistakes.”

On offense, the Giants battered the Lions with running back Rodney Hampton (27 rushes for 76 yards). Wide receiver Chris Callaway caught four passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

The Giants won the game, 35-7.

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