The New York Giants didn’t get the start they wanted, but the final product was just fine.
After falling behind 14-0 thanks to an Ahmad Bradshaw fumble and a 62-yard touchdown, Eli Manning and the Giants outscored the Cleveland Browns 41-13 over the final 57 minutes to win 41-27.
In what has become customary of Tom Coughlin’s Giants, the team fell behind early at home, but was woken up by the prospect of falling to the winless Browns and bounced back to move to 3-2 on the season.
Manning threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns, but the star quarterback wasn’t the best player on the field Sunday.
That title must go to co-stars Bradshaw and Victor Cruz.
Following his inauspicious start, the former rushed 30 times for 200 yards and a touchdown, laying the groundwork for an efficient offense that has proved to be one of the best in the NFL.
Last year, Bradshaw combined with the now-departed Brandon Jacobs to form the last-ranked rushing attack in the league. If he can produce but half of Sunday’s total on a week-to-week basis, Manning will have an easier time finding open receivers.
Bradshaw’s main issue could be staying healthy, as he missed four games last season and one this year. Luckily for the Giants, the running back’s most recent injury was to his neck rather than his oft-injured feet.
Cruz hauled in a career-high three touchdown catches and finished the day with five grabs for 50 yards. Anytime Cruz is able to break out his patented salsa dance, it typically spells a good day for the Giants. The 25-year-old University of Massachusetts product turned in a much-needed big performance in the absence of wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, and is now tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns.
Rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle finally found his way out of the doghouse by catching six passes for 82 yards. Following the game, Randle revealed to the media that he and Manning had met privately to review game film. Clearly, some of Manning’s veteran savvy rubbed off on the second-round pick.
David Wilson had a tough start to the season, but the first-round pick got on the board when he broke off a 40-yard touchdown run to cap his team’s scoring for the day. Perhaps his celebratory backflip was even more impressive than the run.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell won’t be happy that his defense allowed 27 points and 375 total yards to the hapless Browns, but the Giants’ propensity to cause turnovers when they are in dire need is reassuring.
The Giants will fly cross-country to San Francisco, where they will meet the 4-1 49ers who are coming off a two-game stretch in which they have outscored opponents 79-3.