CINCINNATI // The Cleveland Browns thrashed the New York Giants 35-14 on Monday to hand the defending Super Bowl champions their first defeat of the season. Derek Anderson threw two touchdown passes and Eric Wright returned an Eli Manning interception 94 yards for a touchdown for the Browns as they condemned the Giants to their first defeat on the road in more than a year.
The win was a crucial one for the Browns, who started the season with three straight defeats. Their wide receiver Braylon Edwards said: "This has given us new life. We got another win so everything looks better now. " New York had won 12 consecutive games away from New Jersey, including last year's surprise Super Bowl triumph, with their last road defeat coming in the opening week of last year. Manning was intercepted three times and the Giants could not contain Cleveland's offence, leaving the Tennessee Titans as the NFL's only unbeaten team.
The Browns led 17-14 at the half and broke open the game with 18 unanswered second-half points, with Wright's long interception return with 8:07 remaining sealing the victory for Cleveland. Anderson completed 18 of his 29 passes for 310 yards and did not throw an interception. He threw touchdown passes to Darnell Dinkins and Braylon Edwards. Jamal Lewis rushed for the other Cleveland touchdown and Phil Dawson kicked a pair of field goals.
"Anderson played like the best quarterback in the league tonight," Edwards said. "We had some guys coming back from injuries too and that made a big difference." Manning had an off night, throwing for 196 yards, as the Giants saw their lead in the NFC East cut to just a half game over Washington and Dallas. "You're going to lose a game every once in a while, but we don't like the way we played," Manning said. "That's what's disappointing."
Brandon Jacobs scored on a seven-yard touchdown run and Plaxico Burress also reached the end zone for the Giants. * Reuters