CLEVELAND - Browns fans watched an explosive start fall apart in a disastrous ten-minute real time span in Sunday’s 41-27 loss to the Giants.
Here’s the anatomy of self-destruction: interception, touchdown, fumble, touchdown.
It’s not too difficult to guess which plays the winless Browns were responsible for in that sequence.
Good and bad happened quickly on both sides.
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled on the Giants’ first play from scrimmage. Trent Richardson then took the ball and ran it into the end zone for the first points in the first minute.
Then they did it again, Josh Gordon blowing by Chase Blackburn on a perfectly placed 62-yard touchdown bomb from Brandon Weeden. Just five minutes into the game, the Browns led the defending Super Bowl champions 14-0.
That was the good.
A slow start at home against a winless team is nothing new for the Giants. Just look back to Week 8 of 2011 when the winless Dolphins came to New Jersey and jumped out to a 14-3 lead. They took that advantage well into the fourth quarter before the Giants crushed their hopes.
Hope had a much shorter shelf life for the Browns Sunday.
Eleven minutes into the second quarter, a Brandon Weeden 3rd and 1 interception triggered a nightmarish series of circumstances that sucked every morsel of momentum out of the Browns’ system.
In 1:43, Ahmad Bradshaw notched a touchdown run, Josh Cribbs fumbled a kickoff that the Giants recovered, D’Qwell Jackson left the game with a head injury, Victor Cruz salsa danced for a second time and a seven-point lead became a seven-point deficit.
A little less than three minutes reversed almost an entire half of promising play.
The Browns never recovered. Worse, their fortunes only went downhill.
Buster Skrine’s pass interference before the half gift-wrapped the Giants three more points. Bradshaw gashed the Browns’ defense for a career-high 200 yards. In the fourth quarter, Weeden forgot the rules and threw two forward passes on one play.
New York scored 24 unanswered points after that Weeden pick. By 4 p.m. you were hard-pressed to remember the Browns actually led nearly half of the game.
It sure didn’t feel like it.
The collapse was quick in this one but the season continues on the track of prolonged agony.
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