The New York Giants came into today’s game with the Cleveland Browns with a 7-3 record, and a very good chance to make the playoffs.
They left with a win, and the Browns are now 0-12 on the season, but the home town brown and orange gave the G-Men a pretty good struggle.
However, it seemed whenever the Browns got close, or threatened the New York lead, the Giants had an extra gear and widened the lead once again. That’s what happens when you have great players like Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.
The Browns trailed just 7-3 with 3:51 left in the first half. Less than a minute later, Manning hit Beckham for 32 yards and it was 14-3.
In the fourth quarter, Cleveland got within one score at 20-13 after a 21 yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to rookie Corey Coleman.
It took just three minutes for Manning to move the Giants 73 yards in six plays, finding Beckham Jr. again to provide the final margin at 27-13.
McCown had a critical turnover, but it is difficult to blame him for it. With the score 14-6, Johnathan Hankins bull rushed G Alvin Bailey, in because John Greco was hurt, hit McCown and the ball popped into the hands of Jason Pierre-Paul, who ran 43 yards with the fumble and a touchdown.
For the Browns to get their elusive first win, it would seem they need to run the ball and win the turnover battle. They did neither today, as they were outgained on the ground, 104 to 58, and fumbled three times compared to just one for New York.
McCown wound up with 322 yards passing, but many of them came with Cleveland down by 14, and the Giants playing back and allowing underneath completions.
To be fair, he did hit a beautiful strike to Terrelle Pryor for 54 yards. Coach Hue Jackson seemed to hear our plea to get Pryor and Duke Johnson more involved, as the former Ohio State QB caught six passes for 131 yards, and Johnson had five carries and three receptions.
We would still like to see Johnson more involved though.
Other bright spots offensively would include Coleman, who had three catches for 38 yards and a TD, and rookie TE Seth DeValve, who added three grabs for 39 yards.
Hopefully, with the bye week coming up next, this will be the last we see of McCown, who had respectable numbers (25 of 43, 322 yards), but threw several balls behind receivers and had an interception nullified because the defender was out of bounds.
That might seem harmless, but the defender was right in front of the receiver. What McCown saw, we don’t know.
Robert Griffin III should be ready to start against Cincinnati, and we would rather see if he can play, rather than see McCown.
Defensively, the Browns held Manning to just 194 yards passing, and had a couple of chance to turn him over, but failed. The Giants’ QB threw a short pass that hit Emmanuel Ogbah in the chest, but he could corral it.
Jamie Collins had 8 tackles and Christian Kirksey had 10 to lead Cleveland, and Corey Lemonier did record a sack.
But the defense had no answer for Beckham’s speed on crossing routes, the secondary continues to be a problem.
So finally, the Browns get a week off. Many members of the media and fans might need the time off as well as the players.
Hopefully, the rest rejuvenates the coaching staff and the players for the last four games of the year.