Report card: Sparkling marks
Eli Manning connected with Victor Cruz on three touchdowns, and passed for 259 yards. His lone interception came when Cruz had the ball popped out of his hands by a defender.The offensive line also kept Manning from being sacked. Without Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, Manning still dissected the Browns defense with Rueben Randle (six catches for 82 yards) and Domenik Hixon (five catches for 55 yards).
Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled on the first carry of the game -- and then he went off, posting a career-high 200 yards with a touchdown. David Wilson even got into it, scoring his first NFL touchdown on a 40-yard run. Andre Brown suffered a concussion and the Giants' running offense still gained 243 yards on the ground. The offensive line opened plenty of holes on this day.
The Giants gave up a 62-yard touchdown bomb from Brandon Weeden to Josh Gordon, and a late meaningless touchdown pass. They also failed to register a sack against a Browns offensive line that had allowed nine sacks coming in. But Stevie Brown, filling in for Kenny Phillips, came up with a momentum-turning interception, and Chase Blackburn also had an interception in the end zone.
Trent Richardson looked like he was poised for a big afternoon when he scored a touchdown early and had 67 yards by halftime. But the Browns fell behind big, and Richardson ended up with just 81 yards on 17 carries. The Giants held the Browns to under 100 yards on the ground, even without the injured Rocky Bernard inside.
David Wilson couldn't get going this time, only averaging 13.5 yards per kickoff return. Andre Brown had one return for 13 yards. Joshua Cribbs had a 74-yard kick return, and would've scored if not for Mark Herzlich's touchdown-saving tackle. But Will Hill forced a Cribbs fumble and Stevie Brown recovered to help set up the go-ahead Giants touchdown in the second quarter.
Opening the game down 14-0 is never ideal. But the Giants could have struggled a lot more in this game with seven key contributors inactive. The Giants avoided their usual penchant for playing down to the level of their competition and instead handled their business. The Giants' ability to keep plugging guys in, in place of injured players, is a credit to the coaching staff and front office.