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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Rapid Reaction: Browns 35, Giants 14

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

So much for the Giants running away with the NFC East. From the start, you could tell the Browns had more energy than the Giants. I thought the score late in the first half would give New York some momentum, but Eli Manning came back and threw an interception.

He'd done a superb job of limiting his mistakes in the first four games, but he had a miserable night against a pedestrian secondary. Even after all the mistakes, the Giants had a chance to get back in the game in the fourth quarter but the Browns' defense kept making big plays in the red zone.

Tom Coughlin said after the game that he didn't see this coming. The defense didn't put enough pressure on Derek Anderson, giving time to make plays downfield to Braylon Edwards. I was startled to see a graphic late in the game that the Giants didn't force a single punt in the game. This is one of the best defenses in football, but they were dominated by the Browns' offensive line Monday.

Cleveland did a great job of committing to the running game and Jamal Lewis finished with 88 yards on 21 carries. The running game opened up the play-action pass and Edwards finished with five catches and 154 yards.

The Giants thrive on sacks, but they were shut out Monday. The Browns used a lot of three-step drops in the first half to keep them off balance. The Browns couldn't afford to fall to 1-4, and they turned that desperation into a positive.

Overall, it was a pretty rough weekend for the NFC East. The Giants will host the 49ers next Sunday, so they should be able to improve to 5-1. Something tells me they won't get caught looking past San Francisco.

Derrick Ward and Brandon Jacobs combined to run for 168 yards but that wasn't enough to offset Manning's mistakes.