Lions beat Giants 21-16 on undrafted rookie Adrian Martinez’s late QB sneak

DETROIT (AP) — Adrian Martinez scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 1:51 left to give the Detroit Lions a 21-16 preseason victory over the New York Giants on Friday night.

After Graham Gano’s third field goal gave the Giants a 16-14 lead with 7:59 to play, Martinez led the Lions on a 69-yard drive. New York stopped former Steelers running back Benny Snell Jr. twice from the 1, but Martinez — an undrafted rookie who had 49 TD runs in 45 college games for Nebraska and Kansas State — dived over the goal line for the score.

Tommy DeVito’s desperation pass was intercepted by Brandon Joseph to clinch the game.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 11: Tre Hawkins III #37 of the New York Giants tackles Jameson Williams #9 of the Detroit Lions in the second quarter of a preseason game at Ford Field on August 11, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Gett

Giants cornerback Deonte Banks, the 24th overall pick in April, had one tackle in limited action.

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit’s top draft pick, carried the ball six times for 19 yards and had an 18-yard reception. Jack Campbell, the Lions’ second pick of the first round, made four tackles.

The Lions received the opening kickoff and were behind after 85 seconds. Jason Pinnock intercepted Nate Sudfeld’s first pass and the Giants got a 48-yard field goal from Gano.

Tyrod Taylor, expected to be New York’s No. 2 quarterback behind Daniel Jones, saw limited action, going 3 of 4 for 7 yards before being replaced by DeVito.

Sudfeld, who’s behind rookie Hendon Hooker, recently signed Teddy Bridgewater and starter Jared Goff, didn’t help his chances after throwing a second interception late in the second quarter. Dane Belton returned it to the Lions 14 and DeVito threw a touchdown pass to Tommy Sweeney — his former high school teammate at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, New Jersey — on the next play.

Sudfeld got the Lions to the Giants 4 in the last minute of the half, but his fourth-down pass to Dylan Drummond was broken up by Cor’Dale Flott.

The Giants led 13-3 at the half, but Maurice Alexander returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown at 2:37 of the third quarter and Sudfeld hit Jameson Williams for a 2-point conversion.

Sudfeld led the Lions to a field goal and a 14-13 lead late in the third quarter. He finished 15 of 28 for 194 yards and two interceptions.

The teams spent the week practicing against each other at the Lions headquarters in Allen Park.


Williams was one of the few regulars on either team to see extended action. Williams, who hoped to be a big-play threat for Goff, can play in the preseason before serving his six-game gambling suspension.


Giants: WR Collin Johnson did not return after a first-half knee injury. ... Flott missed the second half with an abdominal injury.


Giants: Return home next Friday to host the Carolina Panthers.

Lions: Home on Aug. 19 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.