Big plays from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul propelled the Giants to a 27-13 win over the Browns on Sunday in an ugly game that the visitors seemed ready to give away several times.
With the win, the Giants are now 8-3 and have won six in a row. This game was the first time during this win streak that the Giants have won by more than a touchdown. The now 0-12 Browns, however, put up quite a fight.
The Giants took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter via a 13-yard connection between quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Dwayne Harris. The Giants would then make it 14-3 late in the second quarter, with Manning finding Beckham over the middle for a 33-yard catch and run into the end zone.
Beckham finished with six receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns, including a big 41-yard catch in the fourth quarter that was followed by a touchdown grab just a couple of plays later.
Despite their winless record, the Browns did manage to move the ball effectively at times but their penchant for untimely penalties and inability to protect the quarterback led to stalled drives and squandered points.
With 10:58 left in the game and the Giants up 14-6, Pierre-Paul - who had been in the backfield all day - had a Josh McCown pass fall into his hand. McCown’s arm was hit during his throw, and the ball fell right to Pierre-Paul who was rushing off the edge.
The Giants' defensive end rumbled 43 yards to put the Giants up by a decisive 20-6 score line. He had three sacks on the day, one of five times the Giants dropped the Cleveland quarterback. He also had a forced fumble.
1. Pryor shines
That revamped Giants secondary got picked on like a nerdy kid digging for treasure in his nose with Terrelle Pryor lighting up the unit. Pryor, once a quarterback, finished with six catches for 131 yards - torching the Giants back-end. Rookie cornerback Eli Apple struggled against his fellow Ohio State alum. Pryor’s emergence on a bad team has been one of the very few bright spots for Cleveland this year.
2. Bending, not breaking
Before halftime, the Browns pieced together a long, somewhat plodding drive that included a fourth down conversion. Inside the red zone, just four yards away from a touchdown that would level the game at 7-7, the Giants' defense held on three straight downs and held the Browns to a field goal.
The Giants would respond with a quick and efficient four play, 69-yard drive that concluded with a 33-yard touchdown pass between Manning and Beckham. The Browns went from nearly tying the game to down 14-6 at halftime (the Browns would get another field goal on the final play of the first half). It was a momentum killer.
3. Wing and a prayer
The Giants were forced to punt on their first possession of the second half, this after a frustrating series where they went three-and-out. Punter Brad Wing hit a low, line-drive punt that looked like a mis-hit. It was cringe-worthy.
Instead of being a dud, though, it kept rolling and rolling and rolling, all the way past Browns returner Duke Johnson. Johnston was forced to pick it up on a hop before he was tackled at the 12-yard line. It was a 58-yard punt for Wing, who is piecing together a very solid season for the Giants and his effort significantly changed field position.
Also noticeable for Wing was his five kicks inside the 20-yard line on Sunday.