The start to Sunday’s game could not have been any worse for the New York Giants. On their first play from scrimmage, Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled allowing the Browns to score a Trent Richardson touchdown two plays later. Then after a punt, the Browns took the ball and Brandon Weeden connected with Josh Gordon for a 62 yard touchdown reception. That 14-0 nothing lead was a bit nerve racking.
After a Giants touchdown and trading field goals, Browns had the ball up 17-10. Cleveland was moving the ball with ease, which they did for most of the day. Trent Richardson was gaining yards at will and broke what seemed like two tackles on every run. Then on a third and one on the Giants 25 yard line, Brandon Weeden threw a terrible pass that was intercepted by Stevie Brown and returned 46 yards to the Browns 40. Brown was playing for the injured Kenny Phillips. On that play this game turned on a dime.
New York tied the game two plays later on a touchdown run by Bradshaw. Then on the ensuing kickoff the Giants forced return man Josh Cribbs to fumble, recovered by Stevie Brown, which set up another touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. Cruz finished with three touchdown catches on the day. And finally right before the end of the half, the Giants received a gift when the Browns interfered on a pass to Reuben Randle, allowing Lawrence Tynes to kick a 40 yard field goal right before the half, giving New York a 27-17 lead. Just like that the Giants scored 17 unanswered points, putting this game on ice.
New York finished the game leading 41-27, improving to 3-2. They will have to keep pace with their division rivals, after falling to 0-2 to start the season within the division.
The Despicable: This Giants defense was so bad yesterday, that they should all purchase the Giants offense dinner for the week. They never stopped rookie running back Trent Richardson. Richardson continually bounced the football outside and picked up yards every time. The secondary had a couple of lapses, none worse when Stevie Brown forgot to cover Josh Gibson on the 62 yard touchdown pass. And in what is becoming the epidemic on this defense, is the fact that they cannot generate any sort of pass rush. Are Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora ALIVE!? What in God’s name have they done this year aside from be blocked. And I hate to do it, but JPP has to break through a double team at some point. All the great defenders do it….Strahan, Bruce Smith, LT, Reggie White. If Pierre-Paul wants to reach the levels, that he seems capable of, he needs to get better against the blocking schemes that will be used against him. If this Giants defense performs remotely close to how bad they were yesterday, they will be in for a very long day in San Francisco next week.
The Excellent: Eli, the offensive line, Bradshaw, Cruz, Randle, Hixon, and Martellus Bennett should all be thanked for their excellent play and the reason the Giants were able to win yesterday’s game. The Browns committed a lot of penalties in their secondary yesterday, and that is due to the ability of this receiving corp who ran circles around those defenders. In Reuben Randle’s first real action in the pros, he performed really well, with six receptions and 82 yards. He looks like he is well on his way to developing into a long term option at receiver.
Martellus Bennett hyper-extended his knee early in this game, but was still able to come back and play great at tight end. He might be the best blocking tight end in the NFL. Bennett blocks defensive ends on his own and can get up field to put his body on linebackers in running plays too. The man is a beast and has been a great signing thus far.
This offensive line and Bradshaw combined to have the best day of them all. The offensive line was clearing holes like the Giants of 2010 and Bradshaw was running very hard. In total, Bradshaw rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. If this line could go back to opening holes like that, this offense will not be stopped by anyone.
And finally, Eli is Eli. Manning does what everyone has come to expect from him, play great football when he has to, and win. His one interception could have easily been called back had the refs called pass interference, but other than that the man played a mistake free game and put a lot of points on the board.
Next week the Giants have a NFC Championship rematch with the San Francisco 49rs. This game will be a very rough and hard fought game. Hopefully the Giants can heal up some more before they travel out to California.