Sack-Happy Giants Keep on Rolling in Win Over Browns

When the Giants began their six-game winning streak with a 27-23 Week 6 win over the Baltimore Ravens, they were at the bottom of the league in sacks. After Sunday’s 27-13 victory in Cleveland, their sixth in a row, they are now 12th overall.

Led by DE Jason Pierre-Paul, whose comeback from a debilitating hand injury has been nothing short of remarkable, the Giants took down Browns QB Josh McCown seven times Sunday, their highest total since they had seven sacks in a victory against Washington nearly two years ago.

The Giants’ raised their season sack total to 25, two more than they had all of last season. Their 23 sacks in 2015 was a franchise-low in a 16-game season.

JPP collected a career-high three sacks, returned a fumble for a 43-yard TD and also forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow DE Kerry Wynn in the fourth quarter.

JPP is the first NFL player to have at least three sacks and a fumble-return touchdown of at least 40 yards in the same game since 1982, the first year individual sacks became an official NFL stat.

JPP’s previous career-high was 2.5 sacks, which he tied last week (he also had 2.5 sacks in that 2014 game vs Washington). After having only 1.5 sacks in the first nine games, JPP has racked up 6.5 the past two weeks.

DT Johnathan Hankins and DE Olivier Vernon had 1.5 sacks each and CB Janoris Jenkins had the Giants’ final sack. Vernon is also finally getting home after a frustrating first half of the season. He’s had at least one sack in each of the last four games, after collecting just one sack over the first seven games.

“He’s been playing like a monster,” Vernon said of JPP after the game.

It all didn’t go that swimmingly for the Giants in Cleveland, however. They had to work a full sixty minutes to put the pesky, winless Browns away. They ran ball for 104 yards, their third straight 100-yard performance, but their running game is far from where they need it to be.

“We have to get better,” head coach Ben McAdoo said after the game. “We believe that we’re going to win the game and find a way to get the game in our favor at the end. We need to get better at getting better as the season goes on.”

The Giants were rescued again by the theatrics of their wide receivers. Dwayne Harris made a nice grab on Ell Manning’s first TD pass of the game and Odell Beckham, Jr. had another statement game with a magnificent catch-and-run on a 32-yard TD play. He also made a stellar grab int he back of the end zone on another.

Victor Cruz had one big reception down the sideline, again, and Sterling Shepard, who was not targeted in the passing game, had a 22-yard game on a reverse that put the Giants in position for a score.

“Whatever it is, a win is a win,” Beckham said. “Just have to find ways to not put the defense back on the field. Just close these games out ourselves. Take steps as an offense. I don’t think we took a step back today, but I definitely think we could’ve taken a bigger step forward. We have time. A couple more games left. We have to progress from here.”

Still, McAdoo is not losing focus as the Giants their final five games beginning next week in Pittsburgh. He knows his team can play better.

“Too many penalties, for one thing,” McAdoo said about his team’s performance. “The type of game it was, I thought we had some moments where we ran the ball well, but we were inconsistent there. At times, pass protection was good and at times, it wasn’t. The way they were playing coverage, we needed a little time to beat it. We had some opportunities to make some big plays in the ballgame and we didn’t make them.”

After Pittsburgh, the Giants come home to play The Cowboys in a game they hope will be for first place in the NFC East.

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