Giants top Browns for 6th straight victory
Manning, Beckham Jr., Pierre-Paul lead N.Y. to 27-13 victory over hapless Browns
They’re rarely flashy, hardly appealing and downright tough to watch at times.
The New York Giants play bland, boring football — just how they like it.
“Hey, it’s just about finding ways,” Eli Manning said.
Manning threw three touchdown passes — two to Odell Beckham Jr. — and Jason Pierre-Paul returned a fumble for a TD as the Giants extended their winning streak to six games, holding off Cleveland 27-13 on Sunday to keep the pitiful Browns winless.
At the end of a long holiday weekend, the Giants (8-3) looked as if they gorged on too much turkey and apple pie on Thanksgiving. They stumbled and staggered for much of the game before finally putting away the Browns (012) to give New York its longest winning streak since 2008.
The Giants don’t overwhelm anyone, but they do just enough to win and are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
“Whatever it is, a win is a win,” said Beckham, who had six catches for 96 yards and had a TD punt return called back. “I don’t think we took a step back today, but I definitely think we could have taken a bigger step forward. We got time. A couple more games left and now it’s time to progress this week.”
Manning threw a 32yard TD pass to Beckham in the second quarter and added a 4-yarder to the star wide receiver with 5:10 left as the Giants avoided what would have been a devastating loss.
They were lethargic and inconsistent on offense. On defense, the Giants gave up a few big plays and were probably fortunate they were playing the Browns.
“We have to get better,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said. “We believe we’re going to win and find a way to get the game in our favor in the end.”
It’s getting worse for the Browns, who have dropped 15 in a row since last season and are facing the possibility of joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16.
Cleveland is 3-30 since ending the 2014 season with five consecutive losses.
Following the game, Browns coach Hue Jackson had a lengthy meeting with “upper management” before meeting with reporters. Jackson was emotional when he talked about what this season has done to him.
“Being 0-12 is probably the hardest thing ever,” he said. “I’ve never been through this, but I’m not going to fall off the cliff. Do I get disappointed and frustrated? Yes. I don’t want you to think I don’t get mad or sad. I go through all those emotions, but at the same time I know what I signed up for.
“I know there are injuries and the things we’ve been through this season, where we are, where we’re trying to go. You can either beat yourself up, and I do that enough, or you can put your head down and keep fighting and push through this. That’s what we’re going to do as a football team and an organization.”
Browns quarterback Josh McCown, back in the lineup after rookie Cody Kessler sustained his second concussion last week, finished with 322 yards passing and threw a TD pass to rookie Corey Coleman.
With the Giants leading 14-6, Pierre-Paul rumbled 43 yards for his third career TD.
The defensive end, who had three of New York’s
seven sacks, snagged the ball after McCown’s arm was struck by Johnathan Hankins and raced to the end zone, putting the Giants ahead by two touchdowns.
“It was an interception,” Pierre-Paul joked afterward. “The ball never touched the ground.”
Robbie Gould missed the extra point, and that became a brief concern when McCown hooked up with Coleman to make it 20-13 with 8:17 left.
However, Manning responded with a 73-yard drive, connecting with Beckham for 41 yards, before the scoring strike.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Manning said.
The 14-point margin was the Giants’ largest this season. New York collected its first seven wins by a combined 27 points, none by more than a touchdown.
The Browns joined seven franchises that have lost at least their first 12 games: the 2008 Lions; 1980 Saints (0-14); 1976 Buccaneers (0-14); 2011 Colts (0-13), 2007 Dolphins (0-13); 2001 Lions (0-12) and 1977 Bucs (0-12).
With his 37-yard completion to Cruz in the second quarter, Manning moved past Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (47,003) for eighth place in career yards. Up next is Warren Moon (49,325), but Manning has a long way to go to catch brother, Peyton, who finished with 71,940 yards.
Beckham went out briefly in the first quarter with an injured right thumb. He underwent Xrays and missed just one series before returning.
Giants backup safety Nate Berhe sustained a concussion while covering a kickoff in the second quarter. Also, New York defensive end Owa Odighizuwa left with an injured left knee in the second quarter.
Browns right guard John Greco sustained a mid-foot sprain.
Giants: Visit Pittsburgh next Sunday.
Browns: Have their open date next weekend.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a pair of touchdown passes in New York’s victory over the Browns.
Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates his interception and touchdown with Damon Harrison (98) during New York’s win on Sunday.