Special teams has struggled in recent weeks, but Dion Lewis got the unit off to a strong start with a return all the way to the Cleveland 48-yard line on the Giants’ opening drive. Colt McCoy, under center in place of the injured Daniel Jones, completed a 22-yard pass to Sterling Shepard down the left sideline to advance to the Cleveland 13-yard line. The Giants were unable to convert on third-and-5, but instead of sending out the field goal unit, New York tried to sneak a touchdown past the Browns. Riley Dixon’s pass to Nick Gates over the middle fell incomplete though and the Giants came away empty-handed.
On New York’s following drive, a big 35-yard pass to Darius Slayton on third down allowed New York to advance back into field goal range. The Giants somewhat made up for the lost points on their opening drive with a successful 37-yard field goal.
The Browns responded on their following possession with a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive at 12:36 in the second quarter to take a 7-3 lead.
Despite the failed trick play call to start off the game, Joe Judge elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 at 5:22 in the second quarter instead of taking the guaranteed points. Wayne Gallman was unable to pick up the first down and the Giants turned the ball over on downs again.
After three trips to the red zone, New York had only three points to show for it.
Cleveland put together one more scoring drive to close out the first half as Baker Mayfield connected with Jarvis Landry for a two-yard touchdown. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Landry extended Cody Parkey’s extra point kick to 48 yards and it doink-ed off the uprights. The Browns took a 10-point lead into the locker room.
After a scoreless third quarter for both teams, Cleveland managed to find the end zone again when Mayfield drove his team 95 yards down the field. Nick Chubb capped off a 14-play scoring drive that ate up just over eight minutes of clock with a one-yard touchdown run. The score extended Cleveland’s lead to 20-3. The 95-yard scoring drive was the second of the game for Cleveland.
Graham Gano tacked on a 39-yard field goal with 4:11 left to play in the game, but it would not be enough to come back against the Browns. Cleveland held on to win, 20-6.
The Giants trailed the Browns, 13-3, at the half.
New York’s offense had a tumultuous week with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett testing positive for COVID-19. Former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens took over the play calling Sunday night.
The Giants ran 28 first-half plays to 33 for the Browns, and New York held the ball for 13:53 to 16:07 for Cleveland. The Giants had 145 offensive first-half yards while Cleveland recorded 219.
Without James Bradberry as a weapon in the secondary, Cleveland was able to record 172 passing yards. The Browns entered the game ranked seventh-worst in the league in passing yards. An example of their emphasis on the passing game came on fourth-and-2 on the Browns’ opening drive when Cleveland elected to go for it. Mayfield threw the ball instead of trying to pick up the yardage on the ground.
McCoy finished the half 6 of 12 for 91 yards. Mayfield was 17 of 19 for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
McCoy was 19-of-31 for 221 yards.
Darius Slayton had four receptions for a team-leading 74 yards.
Alfred Morris recorded 39 yards on seven attempts.
NFC East Standings Update
1. Washington (6-8)
2. Dallas (5-9)
3. GIANTS (5-9)
4. Philadelphia (4-9-1)
The Giants will travel to Baltimore next week to take on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The game will be broadcast on FOX at 1 p.m.