Starters, Domenik Hixon Impress in 37-34 Preseason Win: The Giants’ starting offensive, defense, and parts of their special teams made a statement against the Cleveland Browns Monday night by taking a 30-3 lead early in the second quarter before giving way to the back-ups, who did not impress. The Giants held onto win 37-34 in their first game at the Meadowlands this season.
Cleveland actually went up 3-0 early in the first quarter after a three-and-out by the Giants’ starting offense. Cleveland picked up two first downs and kicked a 56-yard field goal.
The Giants scored the next 30 points in the game.
On the the Giants’ second possession, New York drove 79 yards in four plays to take a 7-3 lead. Cleveland was flagged with a 53-yard pass interference penalty when WR Sinorice Moss was obviously interfered on a deep pass from QB Eli Manning. After Manning scrambled for nine yards on 3rd-and-4, he then found Domenik Hixon for an 11-yard touchdown.
Cleveland went three-and-out as New York’s front seven began to take control of the line of scrimmage. After a Browns’ punt, New York went 49 yards in three plays with Manning finding Hixon again, this time for 24 yards for another touchdown. Giants 14 – Browns 3.
Both teams then exchanged punts. When the Browns got the ball again, Cleveland was backed up inside the 10-yard line and eventually attempted to punt from the 1-yard line. But HB Reuben Droughns shoved his blocker back into the punter, causing the punt to be blocked for a safety. Giants 16 – Browns 3.
The ensuing kickoff was then returned 82 yards for a touchdown by Hixon. It was Hixon’s third touchdown of the quarter. Giants 23 – Browns 3.
A big negative for the Giants all night was their kickoff coverage unit. The Browns returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards down to the Giants’ 9-yard line. However, two plays later, an unforced fumble by the Browns’ running back was scooped up by S James Butler and returned 95 yards for a touchdown. Giants 30 – Browns 3.
The Giants then knocked out Cleveland’s starting quarterback as DE Osi Umenyiora clobbered Derek Anderson on an 8-yard sack. Cleveland was forced to punt again.
With the back-ups in the game, the Browns then scored the game’s next 21 points.
The Giants’ second-team offense had the ball four more times in the first half, but couldn’t manage to put any more points on the board. Worse, a pass from QB Anthony Wright was intercepted and returned 15 yards for a touchdown near the 2-minute warning. This was right after the Browns had engineered a 6-play, 69-yard drive. The two scores cut the Giants’ lead to 30-17 at half time.
After another big return, Cleveland then drove 63 yards in five plays at the start of the third quarter to cut the score to 30-24. On the 44-yard scoring play, CB Kevin Dockery let the ball bounce out of his hands right into the receiver’s hands, who then scored.
The Giants finally responded as HB Danny Ware returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards. Ten plays later, HB Ahmad Bradshaw scored on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line as New York went up 37-24.
Cleveland did not score on its next two drives and neither did New York on its next three drives, with PK Josh Huston missing a 42-yard field goal.
In the 4th quarter, the Browns cut the score to 37-34 as first they drove 40 yards in six plays to set up a 44-yard field goal. Then Cleveland moved the ball 85 yards in eight plays for a touchdown with just over two minutes to go in the game.
But the Giants were able to successfully run out the clock. HB Danny Ware ran impressively for the Giants to finish the game.
For the Giants, Manning finished 4-of-7 for 52 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Wright was 4-of-8 for 34 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. QB David Carr was 7-of-14 for 53 yards. QB Andre Woodson was 0-for-1.
Hixon finished with four catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Ware carried the ball 10 times for 97 yards.
Injury Report: CB Terrell Thomas suffered a hamstring strain.
WR Brandon London left the game with a shoulder injury. X-rays were taken, but no results were revealed.
QB Anthony Wright left the game late in the second quarter with a back injury.
HB Kay-Jay Harris suffered what looked to be a serious leg injury late in the game.
Article on HB Kay-Jay Harris: Kay-Jay Running With Purpose by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post