Why NFL’s first London game 10 years ago was a messy success
It’s no surprise the NFL has found a home in London, a city with a decade of regular-season games in its past and a full-time franchise potentially in its future.
It’s also no surprise that the league found its way there in the first place, after a foundation had been laid by the developmental NFL Europe and years of preseason games starting with the Global Cup in 1983 and continuing with the American Bowl series.
What is a surprise is that the league ever decided to return to England after a bleak regular-season debut there 10 years ago.
As the NFL prepares to kick off its 2017 International Series with the first of four games in London — Sunday’s matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium — the powers that be must be checking the precipitation percentages closely.
Stafford found Marvin Jones for a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter and passed to Eric Ebron for a go-ahead 7-yarder in the second. Matt Prater added a 56-yard field goal just before halftime that bounced off the upright, helping the Lions to a 17-7 lead at the break.
Ezekiel Ansah had three sacks as Detroit joined Atlanta and Carolina as the only unbeaten teams in the NFC through Week 2. The Lions made the playoffs last season, but finished the year with four straight losses.
Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowler who missed the season opener, had four catches for 36 yards in limited action.
Manning threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram on the first play of the second quarter, but the rookie tight end was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for a seemingly obscene gesture. It allowed the Lions to get the ball at the Giants 45 after the kickoff went out of bounds and Stafford drove them for a second score.