CLEVELAND - The 1-3 Browns were desperate to show the world they belonged on prime time—or at the very least earn some respect. In the second of five appearances on prime time television, the Browns wanted to redeem themselves for their previous showings.
The Browns were impressive as they broke open a close game and rolled to a 35-14 win in their first appearance on Monday Night Football in five years.
The Browns improved to 2-3 and gave the Giants their first loss of the season and snapped a 13-game winning streak in road games for the Giants, including last year's Super Bowl.
Playing without Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow, the Browns put an exclamation point on the win as Eric Wright intercepted Eli Manning and raced 94 yards for a touchdown to give the Browns a three-touchdown lead.
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 Lewis on the first play, Anderson hit 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 by 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.
The Browns tacked on a 26-yard field goal by Dawson to make it 20-14 with 11:55 left in the third quarter after Brandon McDonald had his third career interception. Manning threw his second interception of the game to open the second half as McDonald intercepted it at the Browns' 33 and he returned it 21 yards to the Giants' 46. After a short run by Lewis, the Browns ran a double reverse to Jerome Harrison who ran 33 yards to the 12. After two short runs by Lewis, Anderson threw an incomplete pass to Stallworth in the corner of the end zone as the pass went off Stallworth's hands. Dawson kicked his second field goal of the game.
The Browns increased their lead to 27-14 on the first play of the fourth quarter as Anderson hit Edwards for an 11-yard score with 14:55 to play. The Browns drove 87 yards in 14 plays in taking 8:16 off the clock. The Browns moved to the Giants' 36 after a 17-yard catch by Heiden. However, a holding penalty on Joe Thomas moved the ball back to the 47. On first down, Anderson hit Edwards for 14 yards to the 33. A six-yard completion to Jason Wright on third down took the ball to the 27.
After a delay of game on first down, Anderson hit Harrison for eight yards to the 24. Hank Fraley had a false start back to the 29. Anderson then hit Harrison for a first down and an 18-yard gain to the 11 to end the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Anderson rolled out and hit Edwards for an 11-yard touchdown as Ross fell down when Edwards cut.
Trailing 27-14, the Giants marched quickly down the field to the Browns' nine. Manning tried to hit Amani Toomer, but Eric Wright stepped in front of him and raced 94 yards down the sideline to make the score 33-14 with 8:07 to play. The Browns went for two and converted as Anderson hit Edwards to make it 35-14.
The Giants again moved quickly down the field and were at the Browns' six on fourth-and-2 when Manning threw incomplete in the end zone to Smith. Manning finished 18-of-28 for 196 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. His QB rating was just 57.1.
Very Good DA: QB Derek Anderson was 11-of-18 for 225 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Anderson had a QB rating of 123.6 at halftime and finished 18–of-29 for 310 yards, including two touchdowns and no interceptions. His QB rating was 121.3 He also had a two-point conversion.
Jamal Time: RB Jamal Lewis rushed 21 times for 88 yards, including a touchdown in the win. He was able to gain two first downs in the waning moments in closing out the game. Lewis passes Earl Campbell to moved into 25th place on the NFL all-time rushing list.
Alex's Play: Rookie LB Alex Hall continues to make plays as he registered the Browns first sack of the game on third down on QB Eli Manning. Hall has gotten a sack in three consecutive games.
The Ghost No More: RB Jerome Harrison was on the field more than he had been in recent games. His 33-yard run on a double reverse that first went to Joshua Cribbs was a career long. It was also the longest run from scrimmage for the Browns. He had an 8-yard run up the middle in the third quarter. He had two receptions for 41 yards.
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.
Thieves: DB Brodney Pool and Brandon McDonald intercepted QB Eli Manning. It was McDonald's third career interception. However, the capper was DB Eric Wright's 94-yard interception return for a touchdown that clinched the win. It was the fourth longest interception return for a score in team history.
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. He had a chance to make a touchdown catch in the third quarter, but the pass went off his hands in the end zone.
Who Needs K2?: The two tight ends that replaced TE Kellen Winslow combined for six receptions and 81 yard, including a 22-yard touchdown. TE Steve Heiden had three receptions for 31 yards in the first half, including a 14-yard play. Three 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. Heiden finished with five receptions for 59 yards.
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. He finished with five receptions for 154 yards, including a touchdown.
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.