DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford improvised brilliantly on two early touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson, and Detroit beat the New York Giants 35-14 on Monday night in Jim Caldwell’s first game as Lions coach.
Stafford also ran for a TD for Detroit, which intercepted Eli Manning twice in the Lions’ first Monday night opener since 1971. Detroit collapsed down the stretch last year and missed the postseason, and Jim Schwartz was fired and replaced by Caldwell.
Stafford went 22 of 32 for 346 yards. Johnson had seven catches for 164 yards.
Manning was 18 of 33 for 163 yards and a touchdown for the Giants, who started 0-6 last season and never led in their 2014 opener.
Even New York’s touchdown in the second quarter didn’t come easily. Detroit’s Jerome Couplin kept a drive alive with a roughing the punter penalty, and the Giants ended up with first-and-goal from the 1 after a pass interference call.
New York scored on fourth down when Manning had a 1-yard pass to Larry Donnell.
CARDINALS 18, CHARGERS 17
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Carson Palmer threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to John Brown with 2:25 to play, and Arizona rallied to edge San Diego.
Brown, a rookie from little Pittsburg State, caught a short pass and then eluded tacklers into the end zone, capping an 11-play, 91-yard drive.
Arizona trailed 17-6 after three quarters.
Jerry Attaochu blocked a punt and forced a fumble, setting up 10 Chargers points.
With his team trailing 6-3 at the half, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers went 6 for 6 for 82 yards on a drive to open the second half. His six-yard pass to Malcom Floyd for the TD put the Chargers ahead 10-6.