|New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw celebrates the 41-27 victory against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. (US Presswire)|
The Giants pass rush is still dormant and the first five minutes of Sunday’s 41-27 win over the Cleveland Browns were dreadful, but the Giants have a lot to be proud of -- particularly a resurgent run game.
The Giants made the necessary adjustments defensively, and even though they trailed 14-0 after five minutes, they managed to come away with a relatively easy win.
Most important, the Giants out-possessed the Browns in every quarter on Sunday, finishing with a 35:24 to 24:36 advantage. Obviously, a lot of that had to do with Bradshaw’s big game (and some untimely penalties from Cleveland), but New York had been striving for offensive balance and got it on Sunday with 37 passing attempts and 34 rushes.
Previous game's grades: D+
Middle linebacker Chase Blackburn has been the defense’s MVP through the first five weeks of the season. Not only does he line everyone up and make the reads, but he’s making big plays as well. He factored into both of the Giants’ interceptions on Sunday -- the first one resulted from his pressure on QB Brandon Weeden, and he caught the second one in the end zone -- and he also made four tackles. Cornerback Corey Webster bounced back from a bad game in Week 4, which is an encouraging sign for an injury-ravaged secondary.
The bad news was that the Browns still had success on the ground (84 yards on 19 carries) and in the air (291 yards on 35 attempts).
Previous game's grades: B-
Special Teams: C
The Giants didn't respond well to the variety of kicks Phil Dawson sent their way. When it was short, Wilson got caught trying to make a big play, and when Dawson sent it to the off returner, Andre Brown, Cleveland made the stop inside the 10-yard line (and Brown suffered a concussion on the play). Kicker Lawrence Tynes was 2 for 2, but punter Steve Weatherford put both of his attempts into the end zone and the Giants did a terrible job of stopping legendary return man Josh Cribbs (36.8 yards per return)
Previous game's grades: B
Tom Coughlin and his staff didn’t panic when the Giants were down 14-0, and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride never abandoned the run. New York’s game plan focused on the run, and it ended up being an important reason they won the possession battle.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s secondary played well after botching assignments on Weeden’s 62-yard touchdown pass. Browns running back Trent Richardson started strong, but the Giants run defense got better as the game went on (and as Cleveland was forced to pass more).
After a great week in Philadelphia in Week 4, special teams coordinator Tom Quinn didn't have the kick return-team prepared for Dawson’s mortar kick.