Final score: Browns 10, Giants 6
The Giants lost their second straight preseason game on Monday Night Football, but the real concern is the status of star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. He suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter of the four-point loss to the Browns, and while he could be seen on the sideline in the second half, all eyes in New York will be on the injury report in coming days to make sure he’s OK.
The Browns, who improved to 2-0 in the preseason, must be happy with what they’ve seen from quarterback DeShone Kizer so far. The rookie out of Notre Dame is pushing Brock Osweiler for the Week 1 starting job, and keeps showing flashes of potential in the preseason. He scored the lone touchdown Monday as part of a performance that included 74 passing yards and 35 rushing yards.
Browns 10, Giants 6 (7:47 remaining)
Three turnovers in a matter of just a few plays made this feel very much like the fourth quarter of a preseason game.
New York was on the brink of taking the lead when Geno Smith threw an interception inside the Browns’ 10-yard line. The Browns then gave the ball right back when Cody Kessler screwed up a handoff and the Giants recovered the fumble. New York then gave the ball back again with a fumble inside at the Browns’ 10-yard line.
That’s two failed red zone opportunities by the Giants within a minute. You can’t say the team didn’t have chances to score.
Browns 10, Giants 6 (1:54 remaining)
The Giants trimmed the lead back to four points with the second field goal of the game from Aldrick Rosas. This one came from 47 yards out and squeezed just through the left upright, concluding a 12-play, 46-yard drive led by New York backup quarterback Geno Smith. Rosas is trying to fight off veteran Mike Nugent for the Giants’ kicking gig, and it’s looking good for the rookie out of Southern Oregon so far.
Browns 10, Giants 3 (7:23 remaining)
The Browns put together an impressive 15-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 39-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez. The longest plays on the drive were an 11-yard pass from Kizer to running back Matthew Dayes and an 11-yard run by Kizer. The Giants still haven’t topped 100 total yards in the contest, which should give you an idea of the kind of offense we’ve seen in this game. Preseason, feel the excitement!
Halftime: Browns 7, Giants 3
Browns 7, Giants 3 (1:10 remaining)
Cleveland scored the first touchdown of the game on a quarterback keeper from first-year signal caller DeShone Kizer at the 1-yard line. He was able to plow through the Giants’ defense and the goal line for the score:
Kizer has had a very solid first half showing his talents as an all-around quarterback. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 40 yards and added another 21 yards on three rushing attempts. Brock Osweiler, meanwhile, completed 6 of 8 passes for 25 yards with the early interception.
Giants 0, Browns 0 (13:13 remaining)
In a terrible twist that could have major implications for when the real games begin, Odell Beckham Jr. went down early in the second quarter with an ankle injury. He took a low hit from a Cleveland cornerback while trying to turn following a reception, and got taken out at the legs.
It’s unclear how serious the injury is, but Beckham could be seen on his knees in the Giants’ tunnel after leaving the field. This is a good reminder of the risk associated with using star players in meaningless preseason games.
Giants 0, Browns 0 (3:57 remaining)
Linebacker Tank Carder went down with an unspecified injury. He was able to walk off the field under his own power.
Giants 0, Browns 0 (9:10 remaining)
The first big play of the night came when Browns rookie Jabrill Peppers returned a punt 31 yards to put the team in favorable field possession.
Cleveland couldn’t capitalize on its opportunity, however, due to a great play from defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, who grabbed a tipped pass for an interception minutes after Peppers’ return. It turns out you do not need 10 fingers to catch a football. That’s the first turnover of the preseason for quarterback Brock Osweiler as he tries to hold off rookie DeShone Kizer for the Browns’ starting QB gig.
Before the game
They’ll look to state their case Monday night at 8 p.m. ET when Cleveland plays host to the New York Giants on ESPN.
Cleveland invested hard in a 2017 rebuild, adding draft assets and investing in youth. In came prospects like Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, and DeShone Kizer. Gone are veterans like Gary Barnidge and Robert Griffin III. The end goal? Putting a little more light at the end of the seemingly eternal tunnel known as Browns fandom.
This offseason, the Browns focused on strengthening the trenches, adding veterans like Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter to the offensive line and young bucks like Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi on the opposite side of the ball.
The question is who guys like Zeitler and Tretter will be protecting this fall. Second-year passer Cody Kessler is the only holdover of the five quarterbacks to take snaps for the team in 2016. He’ll be pressed for playing time by Kizer and trade addition Brock Osweiler, a passer so ineffective the Texans gave up a second-round draft pick just to be rid of his onerous contract.
The Browns got the best of the Saints in their preseason opener, where Kizer was the most impressive of an underwhelming QB cluster. The rookie threw for 184 yards and a touchdown, significantly outperforming his competition through the air but also absorbing three sacks while stretching himself too thin in the pocket.
Cleveland’s competition doesn’t have a remotely similar issue behind center. Eli Manning, entering his 14th year as a pro, is his team’s unquestioned starter. The Giants have taken steps to surround him with talent as his career winds down, adding players like Brandon Marshall and rookie tight end Evan Engram to help him stretch the field in his quest for a third Super Bowl title.
Monday’s game will mark Manning’s first appearance this preseason. He sat out last week’s opener in favor of Josh Johnson and Geno Smith, who looked cromulent after escaping the football purgatory that is the Jets. The young veteran completed 10 of his 16 passes for 114 yards to make his case as the team’s backup. Despite his hard work, the Giants still fell to the Josh Dobbs-led Steelers, 20-12.
They’ll have the chance to correct that mistake against another AFC North opponent in primetime when they head to Ohio on Monday night.
Eli Manning is teaching Brandon Marshall a new language. (Big Blue View)
Brandon Marshall is over that beef with Sheldon Richardson. (Big Blue View)
Jabrill Peppers may not be a true safety yet, but he hits like one. (Dawgs by Nature)
The Browns and Giants have plenty of connections. (Dawgs By Nature)