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After eight consecutive wins, including a postseason quartet that culminated with a Super Bowl XLII upset of the then-undefeated New England Patriots, the New York Giants got clobbered in Cleveland.
Eli Manning sported a dazed and confused look that we haven’t seen since the four-pick, three-brought-back-to-the-house mess in against Minnesota in The Meadowlands last November. But Manning shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame for the 35-14 drubbing that ended New York’s 12-game road winning streak, the second most in NFL history behind the 18 away-from-home skein for the San Francisco 49ers between 1988-90. The defending Super Bowl champs were out-coached, out-hit, didn’t tackle well and rarely got near Cleveland QB Derek Anderson.
And the league and its TV carriers collectively issued a sigh of relief.
You see, Romeo Crennel’s crew, with a 10-6 mark in 2007 that barely missed the playoffs, was the trendy choice by NFL schedule-makers. This was the second of five primetime games for the Browns this season — not to mention four other late Sunday afternoon windows.
After being absolutely manhandled by the G-men in the first half of a preseason game, the Browns began the season in a malaise that festered for three straight, desultory losses, including a lackluster 10-6 defeat to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in week 2.
But after topping intrastate rival Cincinnati for their first win on Sept. 28, the Browns kicked the Giants’ butts. At 2-3, there’s hope for the Dawg Pound and the networks..If Cleveland can claim another victory or two over the next three weeks — no easy feat with trips to Washington and Jacksonville and a home game against the club that used to be them, the Baltimore Ravens — it’s back-to-back primetime games on NFL Network Nov. 6, when they host Denver, and on ESPN Nov. 17 when they trek to Buffalo, may hold some interest for fans not attached to the participants.
Otherwise, the cries for Brady Quinn, which have been quelled for the moment, will resurface in Brown Town. Not sure, a national audience needs to see the ex-Golden Domer’s growing pains on those nights, or on ESPN’s Dec. 15 Monday Nighter at Philadelphia.