Giants-Browns: Defense forces turnovers, still not up to par
Sam Spiegelman , Contributor
First Quarter Blues
The Giants defense should have had a stronghold on the Browns this afternoon, but early on they came out flat. Consequently, the Browns’ rookies burned ‘em.
Trent Richardson, who said he would find running lanes against the G-Men, showed he’s a man of his word.
Richardson ran gashed the Giants interior D for a 15-yard touchdown run.
On the next Browns possession, quarterback Brandon Weeden connected with backup wide receiver Josh Gordon on a 62-yard score.
Gordon only saw the field because Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin sat out with injuries.
The Browns found the end zone twice in the first quarter. They scored two first-quarter touchdowns in all of 2011.
Weeden finished the quarter 6-7 with a 158.3 QB rating. His jersey looked like it was fresh out of a wash cycle.
Second Quarter Surge
The second quarter belonged to the Giants, offensively and defensively.
The G-Men allowed a 32-yard field goal early, and on the ensuing possession Stevie Brown – filling in for the injured Kenny Phillips at safety – picked off Weeden and returned it 46 yards.
Brown’s pick set up an Ahmad Bradshaw 4-yard scramble into the end zone to knot the game at 17 all. Not only did it set up the score, it returned momentum to the Giants’ sidelines.
In the second quarter, Weeden completed only 2 of 6 passes, and Richardson was held to 30 rushing yards. Still, sack total: zero.
First Half Notes: A Tale of 2 Quarters
The G-Men held the Browns to eight total first downs and 50 percent on third-down conversions. After allowing 155 yards of offense in the first quarter, Big Blue held them to 73 second-quarter yards.
At the half, the Giants went into the locker room with a seven-point advantage (24-17).
Third Quarter Lock Down
The Browns should’ve been held scoreless in the third quarter, but advantageous field position allowed Phil Dawson to kick a 41-yard field goal off of a four-play, seven-yard drive.
Weeden completed six passes, but only for 14 yards. Richardson was held in check.
Still, no Giants sacks. Only two total hits on Weeden.
Fourth Quarter Slip-up
Chase Blackburn nabbed the Giants second interception on the afternoon and the team’s third forced turnover in the fourth quarter which clinched the win for Big Blue. It set up rookie David Wilson’s 40-yard touchdown run, the first ever in his young career.
Weeden did find Gordon for a second touchdown, this one of the 20-yard variety, to bring the final score to 41-27.
Takeaways: Good, but not good enough
On the game, Weeden completed 22-35 passes for 291 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT. For a rookie to complete almost 300 yards with two of his top three targets out is in excusable. Then again, the Giants’ secondary is at about 54 percent, with Phillips Jayron Hosley out and Antrel Rolle fighting through a knee contusion.
Richardson was held to 81 yards on 17 attempts, and his yard-per-carry average decreased about a yard from the first to fourth quarter. Aside from his burst up the gut on the opening drive, he didn’t have any explosive runs on the afternoon.
Out of the backfield, Richardson and Chris Ogbonnaya combined for 8 receptions for 111 yards. Those are running backs beating Giants backers when they run routes out of the backfield.
The Giants D was unable to add to their sack total. The official stat sheet shows just two quarterback hits. Joe Thomas is one of the league’s premier left tackles, but then against, Jason Pierre-Paul is supposed to be one of the league’s premier rush ends.
The Giants need to find their pass rush if they want to continue their win streak in San Francisco next week.