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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Drive of the game: The first score

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Trailing 14-0 to the winless Browns late in the first quarter, the Giants had to have a touchdown -- and they got one.

With 3:32 remaining in the opening period, Eli Manning’s three-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz off a play-action fake capped off an 11-play, 92-yard drive and made the score 14-7 Cleveland.

The Giants would ultimately come back and beat the Browns 41-27 Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The drive started at New York’s 8-yard line because Andre Brown decided to run a kickoff out of the end zone; Brown suffered a concussion on the play and had to leave the game.

But after combining for a turnover and one first down on their first two drives, the Giants got the ball to Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie Rueben Randle -- and had great success as a result.

Bradshaw, who ended up with his first-career 200-yard game, had runs of 10 and 11 yards during the drive, while Manning connected with Randle four times for a total of 43 yards. During the drive, the Giants never faced one third down.

They faced a 1st-and-25 from their own 26 after Bradshaw was penalized 15 yards for a chop block. But Manning hit Randle for 14 yards, and on the very next play Cleveland’s Buster Skrine was flagged for pass interference, putting the Giants in Browns territory. Six plays later, Cruz was doing the salsa.

“We’ve been down 14-0 with five or six minutes left to go in a game and we’ve been able to rally back, so we knew that with 55 minutes left we had plenty of time,” Manning said. “It’s obviously not the way you want to start, but we never get down or frustrated or start to panic. We were able to put some good drives together offensively.

“We didn’t force things and took what the defense had given us. The defense got us some turnovers and special teams got us a turnover. We were able to take advantage of that and get touchdowns, and guys made some big plays for us.”