Well, the Browns certainly surprised a few people last night. Facing the Giants at home, the Browns were an 8 point underdog, playing without one of their top offensive weapons, Kellen Winslow, Jr. Even though it was a home game, I'm guessing very few people (except a few people in our prediction contest) thought the Browns could pull this out. Well, the Browns pulled out not just an upset, but a thorough second half whuppin of the Giants.
While it's just one game and the situation will be quite different this coming Sunday, I thought a good first step is to look at what the Browns did right and how they forced mistakes by the Giants. The problem is that I was in class this evening and forgot to TiVo the game. So I'll throw out what the stats show and then I'd like to open this up to everybody. If you watched the game last night, we'd love to hear your thoughts on what seemed to work for Cleveland. The Giants had been rolling up to this point and proceeded to crap the bed.
A quick look at the stats shows that Eli Manning was certainly awful, finishing 18/28, 196 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs and a QB rating of 57.1. His 3 INTs led to a touchdown on Eric Wright's pick-6, a field goal and a missed field goal. However, I'm not sure how much pressure was truly put on Eli. He was sacked once and hit 5 times, but without seeing the game I can't tell how much he had to run around in the pocket.
Given Eli's struggles, it's particularly interesting that the Giants running game was pretty dominant, rushing 25 times for 181 yards. The Browns rushed 30 times for 144 yards. Again, without seeing the game it's hard to determine how much was garbage rushing versus key rushes. The late rushing by Cleveland makes sense given the lead, but I can't come up with anything for the Giants rushing game.
So I guess I just want to open this up for discussion. There is plenty of reason to be negative about this game given the 49ers performances lately. If they blow winnable games, what's gonna keep them from getting blown out by the Giants? Every game in this league is winnable per se. However, coming off an embarrassing loss, I'm thinking the Giants will be pretty pissed off. They could certainly come out flat, but as professionals I'm not so sure about that. So, have at it.