Last week the New York Giants lost a tough game to their hated NFC East rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. Only a 2 point loss, but it stung more than the score board will show. At 2-2, knowing how tough their division can be the G-Men knew they had to rebound, and get over .500%. With the Cleveland Browns visiting MetLife Stadium, the Giants did just that as they had another big time offensive game beating the Browns 41-27.
Eli Manning has been steady with his production so far this season. He has been efficient, consistent, and most importantly he has been scoring big time. Sunday wasn't an Eli Manning chase for the record books type of passing day, instead it was just another surgeon like game for Manning. Eli who is still missing star receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee injury) did a great job of dissecting the Browns defense. He made key passes, and quite frankly looked at ease Sunday. He did have one turnover (interception), which was mainly at the fault of a Victor Cruz mishap. Manning finished the game going 25/37, for 259 yards, and 3 touchdowns (all to Victor Cruz). Look for Eli to try to stay on this steady play as he is second in the NFL in passing yards with 1,579 to go with 10 touchdowns, and he has cut down on turnovers with only 5 interceptions. He currently has a 96.0 passer rating, and is completing over 65% of his passes. His play was exceptional yesterday, and he'll want to keep it going especially with next week's match up the San Francisco 49ers.
The rushing attack was phenomenal yesterday. Many people questioned the production the G-Men would get out of their running game after their small showing against the Eagles last week. Well question it no more at least for today as the Giants racked up on over 240 rushing yards. The Browns despite being a questionable team, have had some success this season on defense. Forcing Michael Vick to throw 4 picks in week 1, and stifling Ray Rice (under 50 yards) on the ground last week. Ahmad Bradshaw had his way with them, getting 30 carries, 200 yards, and 1 touchdown. He ran hard, with purpose and he also kept the chains moving which is most important. It also doesn't hurt when your running back gets 200 yards in one game. Rookie David Wilson also joined the party with a 40 yard touchdown (44 yards in total). This is big for Big Blue who had some concerns with the rushing attack, and they surely hope this kind of production continues next week against a great 49er defense.
The passing attack didn't have the big time numbers yesterday, and the receiving core is still missing star receiver Hakeem Nicks. However this group of receivers did a great job yesterday as they along with Eli Manning picked apart this secondary. The leading receiver was rookie Rueben Randle who stepped up, and made some plays with 6 receptions, and 82 yards. Domenik Hixon who has assumed the starting role for Nicks also made some plays with 5 receptions, and 55 yards. The big star yesterday however in the air was Victor Cruz. He didn't have big game numbers with only 50 yards, but he made up for that with 3 touchdown receptions. The Browns defense could not stop Cruz from getting into the end zone, in the end suffering from the sight of 3 salsas.
Rookie Brandon Weeden made some good plays yesterday, and had his team leading for a good portion of the game. However he has been a victim of the turnover bug this season (more interceptions than touchdowns) so he had some interceptions as well. Weeden finished the day going 22/35, for 291 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. There isn't much to Weedens turnover problems (9 interceptions) other than rookie growing pains. Despite being the 28 years old, he is young in an NFL sense so Browns fans will continue to see him force passes, or misread coverages like he has been. He can only improve with more reps, and experience.
The rushing attack for the Browns did have a good showing against the Giants defense. Rookie Trent Richardson who came out last week saying he could run on the Giants defense backed up his words with a pretty good performance. Richardson finished with 17 carries, 81 touchdowns, and 1 touchdown (after an Ahmad Bradshaw turnover). Look for Richardson to continue to blossom due to his great physical attributes, and oh let's not forget the Univ. of Alabama product is very talented.
Desptie the Bradon Weeden turnovers, the Browns receiving core gave the Giants secondary fits yesterday. There were big concerns as starter Mohamed Massaquoi, and Travis Benjamin both were out due to injury. It was mainly receiver Josh Gordon who with only 2 receptions, had 82 yards, and 2 touchdowns. His longest haul in of the day was 62 yards. Jordan Norwood also stepped up for the Browns with 9 receptions, and 81 yards. He was a safety net for Brandon Weeden throughout the game.
Despite them being challenged throughout the game, the Giants defense did enough to maintain the lead for their team. There isn't anything to be excited about if your a Giant fan, and there are many issues that need to be addressed for the defensive unit. Injuries do play a part in the situation, but it hasn't been blame free in my eyes for this defense. They still have major talent on this team, enough to do better on the defensive side. They gave up a total of 27 points, and were down up until the later portions of the second half. Rookie running back Trent Richardson was able to have some success with 81 yards, and the Browns passing attack was able to put up 2 touchdowns. And what is most concerning the Giants had 0 sacks on the day, with that pass rush that is not acceptable for the defending champs.
On the flip side the defense did cause 3 turnovers. Linebacker Chase Blackburn had a late second half interception, and corner Stevie Brown was able to haul in not only an interception, but a Will Hill forced fumble that set up the offense with great field position. Def. Cordinator Perry Fewell will surely look to clean up what needs to be fixed, but continue to utalize what worked well for his defense.
Despite causing two turnovers in the game (interception, fumble) the Browns defense was inept Sunday. Not only did they not get any sacks on Eli Manning, but they were picked apart in the air for 3 touchdowns. Then they were pounded into the grown by Ahmad Bradshaw who rushed for 200 yards, and a touchdown of his own. With the Giants offense totalling 41 points, this was clearly a beating taken by the Browns. Things don't look well for this defense as they will be facing the Cincinnati Bengals and their high flying passing attack for the second time. In the first match up the Bengals lit them up with 34 points. 0-6 might not seem so far fetched for this team, and for the Cleveland fans hang in there.
The New York Giants are 3-2 for the season. Next week is a prime-time match up for the G-Men as they visit Candlestick Park to face the 4-1 San Francisco 49ers. The game will be at 4:25 pm, only on FOX.