New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said that they did not want to be the first team to lose to the winless Cleveland Browns. That’s not something to worry about thanks to three touchdowns from Eli Manning and a splendid defensive effort led by Jason Pierre-Paul in a 27-13 Giants victory.
The 14-point margin of victory is the Giants’ largest this season. The Browns (0-12), to their credit, didn’t play like a team on their way to losing their 15th consecutive game. They managed to keep pace with the Giants for the better part of three quarters. What they couldn’t do, however, was keep their quarterback upright for most of the game.
The Giants sacked Josh McCown seven times, including three by Jason Pierre-Paul. Olivier Vernon contributed 1.5 sacks and five of the eleven quarterback hits. McCown finished 25-of-43 for 322 yards, a touchdown, and two lost fumbles.
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With the Giants holding a 14-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, McCown inexplicably jumped in the air before attempting a pass. Johnathan Hankins hit McCown on the arm, forcing him to cough up the ball. Pierre-Paul quickly scooped up the ball and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown.
Pierre-Paul became the first player since sacks became an official stat in 1982 to have three sacks and a touchdown of more than 40 yards in the same game.
The Giants offense wasn’t eye-popping or spectacular but they did just enough to help secure a victory. Their day began slowly as they couldn’t get any momentum going. Then, Damon “Snacks” Harrison forced a fumble on the Browns’ Isaiah Crowell. Two plays later, Manning connected with Dwayne Harris on a 13-yard touchdown that was the first score of the game.
On the Giants’ next offensive possession, Manning hit Cruz with a 37-yard pass. With that completion, Manning moved past Fran Tarkenton for eighth place on the all-time career passing yards list with 47,003. The drive ended with a 32-yard touchdown reception by Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham, who had six receptions for 96 yards, also had a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Manning finished the day with 15-of-27 for 194 yards and the three touchdowns. The Giants also had 104 yards on 27 carries, including a 22-yard run by wide receiver Sterling Shepard.
The Giants are now 8-3, winners of six consecutive games. The only team in the NFC with a better record than the Giants are the 10-1 Dallas Cowboys. The Giants’ next game will be next Sunday at Heinz Field when they face the 6-5 Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 PM Eastern. The game will be televised on Fox.
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