The Giants didn’t heed head coach Tom Coughlin’s words initially, but did what they usually do, using a flurry of scores en route to a 41-27 victory over the winless Browns.
Cleveland (0-5) came out the aggressors to start, building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, before the Giants (3-2) awoke and pounded the inexperienced Browns, on the strength of a 20-point second quarter.
New York fell behind two scores early due to carelessness. Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled on the opening play when a hit by defensive end Jabaal Sheard jarred the ball loose. It was recovered by cornerback Shelden Brown at the Giants’ 22-yard line and two plays later rookie running back Trent Richardson scored on a 15-yard inside trap, untouched, for the early lead. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden put the Browns up 14-0 when he hit rookie Josh Gordon on a 62-yard touchdown strike on Cleveland’s next possession. But that was about as good as it would get for the Browns.
The Giants began to chip away with multiple long-distance possessions — including drives of 92, 68, 95 and 80 yards — as Eli Manning was his efficient self. Manning finished 25-of-37 for 259 yards, including three touchdown passes, all to Victor Cruz. Despite not having Hakeem Nicks or Ramses Barden in the lineup, Cruz made minced meat of a Browns secondary by notching 50 yards on five receptions and the three scores. Rookie wideout Rueben Randle also contributed to a strong day from the passing game, as he led the Giants with a career-best 82 yards on six catches.
Bradshaw was able to redeem himself, as he ended up posting a career day. The often-maligned rushing attack got a boost from Bradshaw as he posted a career-high 200 yards on 30 carries. His understudy, rookie David Wilson, finally got a chance to shine, as he tallied 44 rushing yards, including a 40-yard touchdown run late in the game. Wilson got the opportunity because backup Andre Brown suffered a head injury in the first quarter and did not return. Wilson, who has been in Coughlin’s doghouse since his fumble on opening night, may have played his way back into the rotation.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.