Stafford, Lions impress in 35-14 win to open 2014

Posted at 12:13 AM, Sep 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-09 00:16:51-04

DETROIT, Mich. -- From the first offensive possession of the 2014 N.F.L. season, the Detroit Lions made one thing clear.

These are not the "Same Old Lions."

Matthew Stafford threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns - both to Calvin Johnson in the first quarter - and the Lions showed why their expectations for the year are high in a 35-14 win over the New York Giants on Monday night. It marked the first win for Jim Caldwell as head coach of the Lions.

Johnson led Detroit with 164 yards on seven catches. Golden Tate caught six passes for 93 yards in his Lions debut.

Stafford and Joique Bell added rushing touchdowns for Detroit, who have won three straight season openers.

The Lions' defense dominated Eli Manning and the Giants' offense, holding New York to just 197 yards of offense - with DeAndre Levy and Glover Quin adding interceptions.

It's still a Lions team that showed room for growth. For the first 30 minutes of the game, it looked like the same undisciplined Detroit team fans have seen in the past - with eight first-half penalties. But there was perhaps a glimpse into a cleaner future in the second half of the game - with no flags thrown against the Lions.

Detroit (1-0) hits the road for the first time in 2014 on Sunday, heading to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers (1-0) are coming off a 20-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.