Giants vs. Browns Game Story

The Giants used lengthy drives early in each half to take control of the game. <BR><BR>

What went right

* The Giants used lengthy drives early in each half to take control of the game. On its second possession, New York streaked 71 yards in only three plays. Kurt Warner hooked up with Amani Toomer for 16 and 47 yards, before Tiki Barber took it around left end eight yards for the game's first score. The Giants stretched the lead to 17-0 when Warner capped an 11-yard, 95-yard drive early in the third period with a 1-yard bootleg.

"That was an outstanding drive," Tom Coughlin said. "We needed it at that time."

* Clutch defense at key moments. The Giants ended Cleveland's first two drives with sacks by Carlos Emmons and Will Allen. Then, the first time the Browns legitimately threatened – in the third quarter – Michael Strahan sacked Jeff Garcia, then recovered a fumbled snap by Garcia at the Giants 5-yard line six plays later.

* Jeff Feagles had a phenomenal afternoon, consistently tilting the field possession in New York's favor. Feagles downed all four of his punts inside the Browns 20-yard line.

What went wrong

* New short-yardage specialist Mike Cloud failed miserably on his first chance to get into the end zone. On a first-and-goal from inside the Browns 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, Cloud got the handoff and leapt toward the goal line. However, he was caught in midair by Orpheus Roye and thrown backwards for no gain. The Giants had to settle for a field goal. Cloud redeemed himself in the final minutes, scoring on a five-yard run up the middle.

* While we're obviously nitpicking here, kicker Steve Christie's first kickoff was terrible. The 48-yard kick landed at the Cleveland 22-yard line and was returned 14 yards by Andre' King, giving Cleveland its best starting field position of the game.

* While they easily held on, it wasn't encouraging to see the Giants defense allow the Browns 10 fourth-quarter points. While the Browns had a meager 89 yards at halftime, they finished the contest with 285.

Fast facts

Giants record: 2-1

This time last year: 2-1

Time of game: 3:11

Attendance: 78,521

Stat worth noting: New York's red zone efficiency was excellent against Cleveland, with Big Blue racking up three touchdowns and a field goal in its first four trips inside the Browns 20. New York began the game's final possession at the Cleveland 1, but just took a knee to run out the clock.

Stat worth noting II: The Giants' average starting point was their 37-yard line, while Cleveland's average starting spot was its 21-yard line. That's quite an advantage in field position, which the Giants translated into an easy victory. While the Browns never started a possession outside of their own 40-yard line, New York started three in Cleveland territory. Play to remember: Late in the third quarter, with the Giants holding a 10-0 lead, Amani Toomer broke down the left sideline and collected a perfect Kurt Warner pass to move the ball to the Browns 6-yard line. This exceptional connection helped give the Giants a 17-0 lead.

Play to forget: The officials, led by referee Bernie Kukar, were pretty bad all afternoon. Never was this more obvious than when rookie safety Gibril Wilson was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting Browns WR Quincy Morgan after a supposed catch. However, replays showed that Morgan did not have the ball in bounds. Kukar ruled that Morgan was in bounds, yet still penalized Wilson. Coughlin was still baffled following the game. If there was a catch, there shouldn't have been a penalty; if there was a penalty, there couldn't have been a catch.

By the numbers:

0: The number that Tom Coughlin most enjoys when discussing Giants turnovers. 2: Home wins in a row for New York. They had one all last season.

4: Number of times the Browns started inside their own 15-yard line due to excellent punting by Jeff Feagles and superb downfield coverage. 5: Number of Giants with at least three catches. Kurt Warner spread the wealth very well against the Browns.

What they said

"I thought it was a solid effort on the part of all three phases today. Overall a good, solid team performance." – Giants coach Tom Coughlin

"We made some mistakes and we left some things out on the field. All we can do from here is learn from our mistakes and have a short memory." – Browns RB William Green

The Giants Beat Top Stories