CLEVELAND - The Browns had an impressive first half showing against the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants. They lead 17-14 and the lead would've been even greater if not for a costly penalty on Mike Adams gave the Giants a chance to cut the lead to three, instead of 10 prior to the half.
The Browns drew first blood as Phil Dawson kicked a 28-yard field goal with 10:08 to play after the Browns took the opening kickoff 69 yards before stalling. After a short run by Jamal Lewis on the first play, Derek Anderson hit Braylon Edwards on a quick slant and Edwards raced 49 yards to the Giants' 25. Edwards caught the seam in from of safety James Butler, who was able to run Edwards out of bounds. Two consecutive running plays to Jamal Lewis took the ball to the 12.
With a first down on the 12, Eric Steinbach was called for illegal procedure and then a fumbled snap by Anderson put the Browns in third-and-long. Anderson threw a short six-yard pass to Donte Stallworth to set up Dawson's 28-yard field goal with 10:28 to play in the first quarter. The Browns went 69 yards in nine plays consuming 4:52 for the score.
The Giants took the kickoff and were driving until Eli Manning tried to hit Plaxico Burress at the Browns' five-yard line and Brodney Pool stepped in front of Burress and intercepted the pass and returned it 24 yards to the 29.
The Browns moved the ball into Giants' territory to the 29 after a third down reception by Steve Heiden. However, a penalty and two incompletion passes forced Dawson to attempt a 51-yard field goal, which was wide left.
After the missed field goal, the Giants went down the field in just six plays covering 58 yards to take a 7-3 lead as Brandon Jacobs went over from seven yards out with 12:08 to play in the second quarter. Manning hit Kevin Boss for a 24-yard gain to the Browns'34 on the first play. Derrick Ward went 17 yards on the next play to the Browns' 17. On third down, Manning hit Steve Smith for a first down at the seven. Jacobs took a pitch and ran over Mike Adams on his way to the end zone.
After the Giants' score, the Browns went 74 yards in just 59 seconds. Anderson threw a fly to Edwards, who had beaten Aaron Ross, but Edwards had to wait for the ball and Ross was able to bring him down at the Giants' four for a 70-yard gain. After an incomplete pass on first down, Lewis ran left and then cut back right and scored from four yards out to give the Browns a 10-7 lead with 11:10 to play in the second quarter.
Near the end of the first half, the Browns went 77 yards for another touchdown to take a 17-7 lead with 2:15 to play as Anderson hit Darnell Dinkins for a 22-yard score. Passes to Edwards, Steve Heiden and Syndric Steptoe kept drives going and Steptoe's 20-yard catch to the Giants' 22 set up Dinkins' score. Dinkins beat linebacker Antonio Pierce on the play. The nine play drive took 5:36 off the clock.
The Giants answered the Browns score as Manning hit Plaxico Burress with 12 seconds to play in the first half as Burress beat Terry Cousin to make it 17-14. The Giants moved 80 yards in 2:03 for the score.
A huge play was a penalty on Mike Adams that gave the Giants a first down after the Browns recovered a fumble by Manning on a sack. Manning hit Steve Smith for 21- and 14-yards on the drive to take the ball to the Browns' 21.
On third-and-10, the Browns sacked Manning and forced a fumble that was recovered by D'Qwell Jackson. However, a holding penalty on Adams gave the Giants the ball back and a first down on the Browns' 16. Derrick Ward ran for seven yards on first down and then Manning hit Dominik Hixon for a first down at the three with 17 seconds to play before Manning hit Burress.
Good DA: QB Derek Anderson was 11-of-18 for 225 yards and a touchdown in the first half. RB Jamal Lewis had 11 carries for 39 yards, including a touchdown.
The Flash: The Browns opened their second offensive series with WR/KR Josh Cribbs at quarterback and he took the snap and ran 12 yards for a first down. Cribbs ran an option to RB Jamal Lewis in the second quarter.
He's Back: WR Donte Stallworth made his much anticipated first appearance. He caught a six-yard pass on third and long prior to the Browns kicking their first field goal. Stallworth had a 13-yard reception on the second drive.
Who Needs K2?: TE Steve Heiden had three receptions for 31 yards in the first half, including a 14-yard play. Two of his receptions were for first downs. Meanwhile, TE Darnell Dinkins caught only his third career touchdown pass as he caught the 22-yard score from Anderson.
Bad Start: OL Ryan Tucker was flagged for a on the first play of scrimmage, but a pass by QB Derek Anderson was incomplete and the Giants declined the penalty. The Browns had three penalties on offensive linemen on three first downs in the first quarter. Besides, Tucker, Eric Steinbach and Rex Hadnot also were flagged. Hadnot had a second false start midway through the second quarter.
Olympic Gymnast: As WR Braylon Edwards was introduced he did a cart wheel and then a back flip before running onto the field. Edwards had a coming out party on Monday Night Football as he had three receptions in the first half for 129 yards.
Winslow, Shaffer, Smith and Jones Out: TE Kellen Winslow, OL Kevin Shaffer, DL Shaun Smith and DB Sean Jones were all inactive against the Giants. Also out were DB Hamza Abdullah, OL Scott Young, TE Martin Rucker and Ken Dorsey was the third QB. Ryan Tucker started at RT for Shaffer, while Steve Heiden started at TE for Winslow. Louis Leonard started for Smith at DE. There was a chance that Jones was to play this week, but Mike Adams started for Jones once again.
Legends: The Browns honored their new legends class at halftime of the game. They are: Warren Lahr, Walter Johnson, Paul Wiggin and Eric Metcalf.