Thank goodness it's only preseason.
In a first half that was reminiscent to the season opening loss to the Steelers last year, the Browns dug themselves a 30-3 deficit, before staging a monumental comeback in a 37-34 loss to the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Browns were hoping to see how their starters measured up against the champions.
Don't let the final score fool you. It was not an indicator of what transpired early on.
It wasn't pretty.
The Browns starting unit versus the Giants starting unit resulted in a 30-3 lead by the Giants.
From there, the Browns were able to make it respectable against the Giants' reserves.
The game started well for the Browns, but fell apart quickly as the Browns defense forced a three-and-out on the Giants' first possession and then drove to the Giants' 39 before Phil Dawson nailed a 56-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 10:05 to play in the first quarter. Jamal Lewis carried the ball three times for 12 yards. A 10-yard pass to Kellen Winslow and a screen to Charles Ali helped move the ball into range. The Browns went 26 yards on the drive.
After the Browns' score, the Giants countered with 8:37 to play as Eli Manning hit Domenik HIxon with an 11-yard touchdown pass to give the Giants a 7-3 lead. The score was set up by a 53-yard pass interference penalty on Eric Wright as he hooked Sinorice Moss downfield.
The Giants scored again as Manning paired up with Hixon again for a 24-yard score with 6:11 to play in the first quarter to make it 14-3. Wright fell down in the end zone and Mike Adams was late in arriving to help him. The Giants were aided by two 15-yard penalties on the Browns. Adams hit the punt returner early and Andra Davis had an unsportsman like penalty. Manning finished 4-of-7 for 52 yards, including two touchdowns.
The Giants scored a safety as former Brown Reuben Droughns pushed rookie running back Travis Thomas back into Dave Zastudil and the punt was blocked out of bounds to make it 16-3 with 21 seconds to play in the first quarter. The free kick after the safety was taken 82 yards by Hixon for his third touchdown of the first quarter to make it 23-3. Hixon had four receptions for 63 yards in the first half. He played college football at Akron.
Syndric Steptoe raced 90 yards on the final play of the first quarter to give the Browns a first down on the Giants' nine to start the second quarter. However, Jamal Lewis fumbled the ball away inside the Giants' 10 and James Butler raced 94 yards with 14:05 to make it 30-3 to start the second quarter.
The Browns scored their first touchdown of the game with 2:28 to play as he hit Steptoe with a backwards pass and he ran it in from seven yards out for the score. The big play on the drive was a pass down field to Steptoe for a 26-yard gain. Jerome Harrison exploded for a 23-yard run a few plays later to set up Steptoe's run. The Browns went 69 yards in six plays for the score.
Thirty four seconds later, Eric Wright picked off an Anthony Wright pass as Adams hit the quarterback from the blind side and Wright returned it 15 yards for a touchdown to make it 30-17 with 1:54 to play in the first half.
The Browns took the second half kickoff and scored quickly as Quinn hit Steptoe on a 44-yard touchdown to make it 30-24 with 12:47 to play in the third quarter. The ball was slightly underthrown and the Giants' Kevin Dockery looked as though he would intercept the pass, but when he bobbled the ball, Steptoe took it away from him for the score. It was Steptoe's second score of the game. The Browns went six plays and 69 yards in 2:13.
After the Browns scored 21 unanswered points after getting down 30-3, to make it 30-24, the Giants came back behind David Carr and scored a touchdown with 7:09 to play as Ahmad Bradshaw scored on fourth down from the one to make it 37-24.
Ken Dorsey took over for Quinn and on his first possession hit Efren Hill for 34 yards and Darnell Dinkins for 18 yards to take the Browns to the Giants' 25. After the drive stalled, Jason Reda kicked a 44-yard field goal to make it 37-27 with 7:07 to play in the game.
Getting the ball back with over five minutes to play, Dorsey hit Lance Leggett for 38 yards to the Giants' 14 and then hit Leggett for an 8-yard touchdown with 2:25 to play to make it 37-34. Dorsey led the Browns on an 85-yard drive in just under three minutes.
Really, Really Bad Show: The Browns were hoping to show the country they were ready for prime time. Albeit the preseason, the Browns looked as though they were definitely not ready if the first quarter was any indication. The Giants' defense dominated the Browns early and the Browns offense could do very little. Penalties and mistakes dominated the first quarter play for the Browns. The Browns had six penalties for 98 yards, allowed a punt return for a touchdown and had a blocked punt. The second quarter started no better as they fumbled the ball away inside the 10 to start the second quarter and it was returned for a score.
Anderson, Cribbs, Pool Hurt: Anderson was sacked and driven into the ground with 13:10 to play in the second quarter. He was taken out and replaced by QB Brady Quinn. The preliminary report was that Anderson suffered a concussion. KR/WR Joshua Cribbs went to the locker room in the first quarter with an ankle injury. DB Brodney Pool suffered a concussion. Anderson finished 4-of-10 for 20 yards.
Brady Time: When Derek Anderson went down in the first quarter, Brady Quinn started his night a little earlier than expected. He hit WR Syndric Steptoe downfield in the second quarter for 26 yards. Quinn led the Browns to their first touchdown, but wasn't credited with a touchdown pass to WR Syndric Steptoe as the pass was backwards and Steptoe was credited with a seven-yard run. Steptoe scored his second touchdown on a 44-yard reception when he took the ball away from the defender. Quinn played through the third quarter and moved the team for two touchdowns. He finished 7-of-12 for 124 yards, including a touchdown. He also rushed twice for seven yards. QB Ken Dorsey finished the game and was 9–of-11 for 143yards.
Stepping on Toes: WR/KR Syndric Steptoe made his bid to make the team as he accounted for 217 all-purpose yards. Steptoe stepped in for Cribbs and returned his first kickoff 40 yards. He then raced 90 yards on his next return to set up the second Browns' scored. Steptoe scored the Browns' first touchdown on a seven-yard run and caught a 26-yard pass from Quinn in the second quarter. He had a 44-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Cribbs' first return was 28 yards before he injured his ankle. Steptoe had three receptions for 80 yards, including a touchdown.
Run Jerome: RB Jerome Harrison had 36 yards rushing on five carries to lead the Browns, including a 23-yard run.
Nice Hit: LB D'Qwell Jackson forced a fumble as he hit RB Brandon Jacobs, but the Giants were able to land on the ball.
Active Andra: LB Andra Davis batted down QB Eli Manning's first pass attempt on third down to force the Giants to punt and a three-and-out. Davis was hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty call which moved the ball to the Browns' 24.
For the Defense: Rookie LB Alex Hall showed potential as he had three tackles and a QB pressure as he was close in sacking QB David Carr in the fourth quarter. LB Kris Griffin led the Browns with five tackles.
Wilson's Shot: WR Travis Wilson started in place of WR Braylon Edwards. QB Derek Anderson tried to throw a third down pass to Wilson in the first quarter, but Anderson short hopped it to him. FB Charles Ali started in place of FB Lawrence Vickers. DL Shaun Smith started in place of DL Shaun Rogers at nose tackle. Wilson had no receptions. WR Steve Sanders caught two passes for 24 yards. TE Darnell Dinkins had three receptions for 50 yards, while WR Lance Leggett had two for 46 yards, including a touchdown.
Burn Baby Burn: Last week, the Browns backups were picked apart, but this week the Giants went after the first team. DB Eric Wright was picked on twice on the Giants' second series. He was beaten by Sinorice Moss and grabbed him for a 53-yard pass interference penalty and then was beaten by Dominic Hixon for an 11-yard touchdown. Hixon scored again moments later on a 24-yard play as Wright fell down. Hixon had three receptions for 44 yards, including two touchdowns. He was picked up on waivers by the Giants. The Giants were missing WR's Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Steve Smith. Wright did get the Browns' first sack as he sacked QB Anthony Wright on a cornerback blitz. He also intercepted Anthony Wright for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Bad Start: OL James Lee had two false starts in the fourth quarter.
A Little Early: On the Browns first punt, DB Mike Adams hit the receiver way before he had a chance to catch it. The Giants started the drive at the 50 after the 15-yard penalty. Adams hit Anthony Wright on a corner blitz an Eric Wright intercepted the pass for a touchdown.
Hot Pants: The Browns donned brown pants for the first time in team history. There is no immediate plan to use them in the regular season, but they used them in the nationally televised ESPN game.