Giants-Browns: Breakout Day for Bradshaw Powers Offense
Jim Mancari , Contributor
After Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled on the very first play from scrimmage, it looked like it was going be a long afternoon for the Giants at MetLife Stadium against the 0-4 Cleveland Browns. The Browns jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, so Eli Manning and the offense were forced to dig out of a deep hole.
Not only did the offense respond in a big way, but they also played the most complete game of the season, other than the first five minutes, in the Giants’ 41-27 win.
Bradshaw must have been really irked by his fumble because he turned into a different player for the remainder of the game. He finished the day with a career-high 200 yards on 30 carries with a touchdown.
Bradshaw ran angry, which allowed him to break through Browns’ tacklers for a few big gains. He ran for more yards in this game than he had in his previous three games combined this season.
Manning was on target all afternoon as he found seven different receivers for 259 yards. Victor Cruz had only five catches, but he caught all three of Manning’s touchdown passes, which led to three salsa dances.
Rookie David Wilson added his first career touchdown – a 40-yard run in which he was virtually untouched.
The Giants’ third drive of the game is what really started the momentum swing. Manning was 6-for-6 on the drive, which culminated in Cruz’s first touchdown. However, Rueben Randle set the tone as he caught four passes for 42 yards on the drive.
Coming into the game, the Giants needed clutch performances from Randle and Domenik Hixon to replace Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, and that’s exactly what happened. Randle had six catches for 82 yards, while Hixon contributed five catches for 55 yards. Randle established himself as yet another viable weapon for Manning on the outside.
Whenever a running back runs for 200 yards, obviously the offensive line plays a huge role. The Giants’ O-line looked great today opening holes for Bradshaw, who finished his runs well. The O-line also gave Manning plenty of time to throw in the pocket, which resulted in a big day from Eli.
While the Giants certainly did their job offensively, they did receive some help from the inexperienced Browns. Big Blue capitalized on three key Browns turnovers, which allowed the Giants to outscore Cleveland 41-13 after the first five minutes.
The Browns also committed 10 penalties for 91 yards, and a good number of these led to the continuation of Giants’ drives.
Despite some breaks, the Giants offense turned in a perfectly balanced performance. Of the 71 plays, 37 were passes, and 34 were rushes. Big Blue averaged 7.0 yards per pass and 7.1 yards per rush, thus adding to their balanced attack.
This is exactly the type of game we expected with the Giants’ high-powered offense going against a young defense. Though the Giants got off to a slow start, Bradshaw, Manning and the rest of the offensive unit were dominant for the final 55 minutes of this football game.