On Sunday at 8:30 pm at Browns Stadium, the New York football Giants were expecting yet another usual game with a high possibility of a win in their favor. Boy, were they in for a rude awakening.
The Giants were clearly overwhelmed by what the Cleveland Browns had to bring to the table. From the running game to the passing game to the defensive effort, the Giants could not match the intensity of the Browns' sudden surge.
The Giants fell behind in every aspect of the game and this proved to be a shocking early season loss for New York. The Super Bowl champs are undefeated no more.
In the first quarter, Eli Manning threw what would be the first game-changing turnover of the season. Manning's overthrown pass to Plaxico Burress led to an interception by Brodney Poole and a restoration of the Browns' confidence.
The Browns came into this game with an agenda in mind: overcome the impossible. They have most definitely done this in a fine fashion. The Giants are a good team, but the Browns showed the rest of the league they can hang with the "Big Boys" of the NFL.
As for the No. 1 reason the Giants lost, it's turnovers and not stopping the Cleveland offense on third downs. The Browns completed 9-of-13 third downs, a 69 percent success rating, and milked the defense for all it's worth.
The Giants gave up a total of 454 yards and never forced a single punt. Eli had three turnovers, including a vital fourth quarter pick which ended any hopes of a comeback run. Although this was a disappointing loss for them, maybe this is exactly what the Giants need. Perhaps they need another motivator to bring them back into reality.
"No question," said running back Brandon Jacobs. "My opinion on this whole thing is we needed that. We needed to take that 'L' and bring some people down a notch. Know that we can get beat and come out playing hard. Like coach said earlier, 'in the NFL it's dog eat dog, and you've got to be the biggest dog every Sunday if you want to eat.'"
The Giants, of course, still have an opportunity for redemption, but it doesn't come that often. They're going to need a big victory at home vs. the 49ers this Sunday in order to silence the newly spawned critics and get back on that bandwagon. They need to re-tap into the resources that helped obtain that famous Super Bowl ring.
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