62° Good Morning
62° Good Morning

Giants’ grades: Defense again carries offense, special teams don’t help much

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws in

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws in the first half of an NFL game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Cleveland.

Credit: AP/David Richard


The Giants managed only 296 yards and were 4-for-13 on third downs against one of the NFL’s worst defenses. The Browns had been yielding 143.9 rushing yards per game and the Giants managed only 104 of them (22 on an end-around, 11 on a check-down pass that went backward). Eli Manning was erratic early and completed 15 of 27 passes. He did have three touchdown passes, though, and Odell Beckham Jr. provided enough to beat the Browns with six catches for 96 yards and two TDs.


Damon Harrison forced a fumble, Jason Pierre-Paul scored on a fumble return and the Browns had only one offensive TD. JPP is looking dominant with 5 1⁄2 sacks in the past two games. It’ll go down as another game in which the defense carried the offense, but it was far from a dominant performance. Cleveland gained 343 offensive yards. It was one of the worst-tackling games by the Giants in some time; even usually sure-wrapping safety Landon Collins missed on three.


When the best play of the game — Beckham’s 59-yard punt return — doesn’t count because of a holding penalty on Mark Herzlich, it’s a bad day for special teams. When Robbie Gould misses a third extra point in two games, it’s a bad day for special teams. When Bobby Rainey, playing in place of Dwayne Harris on kickoff and punt returns, is flagged for an illegal fair catch signal and then muffs a punt, it’s a bad day for special teams. When Brad Wing puts five of his nine punts inside the 20 — well, that’s actually pretty good.


The Giants made a very clear effort to get the ball to Beckham early. Whether that was to improve his disposition or his production, it seemed to be the right decision. Against a poor rushing defense, the Giants seemed unwilling to hammer the ball on the ground and barely went away from their three-receiver sets. Defensively, Steve Spagnuolo did a good job of applying some pressure with blitzes that resulted in seven sacks. After a few weeks of eliminating penalties, the Giants were flagged for nine for 100 yards.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports