All's well that ends well. The New York Giants rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Browns, 41-27, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, October 7. Here's a look at how it happened and who deserves the most credit in the team's report card for week five.
Offense -- Eli Manning (259 yards passing) took advantage of Cleveland's thin secondary by tossing three touchdown passes to Victor Cruz. But the Giants (3-2) went old-school and crushed Cleveland with their running game. Ahmad Bradshaw made up for an early fumble by rumbling for a season-high 200 yards and a touchdown. Plus, David Wilson added a 40-yard touchdown burst in the fourth quarter. It was good to see Rueben Randle chip in with six catches for a team-high 82 yards. Grade: A
Defense -- Give the Giants a pass for Trent Richardon's 15-yard touchdown early in the first quarter, as it was set up by Bradshaw's fumble on the first play from scrimmage. But there was absolutely no excuse for Brandon Weeden's 62-yard TD bomb to Josh Gordon to make it 14-0. Weeden (291 yards passing) and Gordon also hooked up for a 20-yard TD late in the fourth quarter. The Giants didn't record a single sack, but Chase Blackburn made a key interception in the end zone late in the fourth. Grade: C+
Special Teams -- There were no sparks this week from Wilson, but Stevie Brown (one interception) made a key fumble recovery on a second-half kickoff. It led to a seven-yard TD catch by Cruz, which put the Giants in front, 24-17. Lawrence Tynes was perfect on a pair of field goals and five extra points, but give the unit demerits for allowing a couple of long kickoff returns by Josh Cribbs. Grade: B
Coaching --Knowing Giants coach Tom Coughlin, he probably preached all week about not sleeping on the Browns. But Cleveland (0-5) jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter. Give the Giants credit for not blinking -- do they ever blink? -- and coming all the way back by halftime. The defense needs work, but the offense was balanced and very productive. No complaints here. Grade: B
Next Marking Period --The degree of difficulty gets turned up big-time next week (Sunday, October 14), as the Giants visit the San Francisco 49ers for a rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game. The all-time series is tied 18-18, but the G-Men have won four of the last five meetings.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. He grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.Sources
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