Resilient Giants rally to crush winless Browns
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey - If self belief counts for anything, the New York Giants could be ready to make another run at the Super Bowl.
The Big Blue might have made a wobbly start to the 2012 National Football League (NFL) season but their confidence is unwavering.
Their run to last season's championship game was a real rollercoaster ride where they defied the odds and their own shortcomings.
But time and time again, the Giants dug themselves out of trouble and they are showing the same resilience this season, despite missing some key players to injury.
They made another slow start on Sunday against the winless Cleveland Browns, giving up two touchdowns in the opening five minutes to trail 14-0, but recovered to win easily, 41-27.
"We've been down 14-0 with five or six minutes left to go in a game and we've still been able to rally back," said Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
"So we knew that with 55 minutes left we had plenty of time. It's obviously not the way you want to start but we never get down or frustrated or start to panic."
Their supporters at a packed MetLife Stadium groaned and shook their heads in disbelief at what they were seeing at the start but they need not have worried.
When Manning started finding his receivers, the game was as good as over. The Giants piled on 20 unanswered points to lead by 10 at halftime and scored first in the third quarter.
The struggling Browns tried hard but were unable to muster a comeback of their own. The regular season might only be warming up but Cleveland's prospects already look grim.
"We battled ... but you have to play for 60 minutes," Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur said. "When one bad play happens, you've got to stop the bleeding and everybody make their next best play.
"We can't let it snowball like it did here."
While the Browns suffered their 11th consecutive loss dating back to last season, the Giants matched their season-high point total and improved to 3-2 on the season.
"You know what? We fight back," said New York running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who scored a touchdown and ran for a career-high 200 yards from 30 carries.
"We play better with our backs to the wall. I started the game with a fumble and I just fought back ... I just ran angry today."
Running back David Wilson scored his first career touchdown while Victor Cruz scored three touchdowns, tormenting his rivals with his electrifying pace then delighting relieved supporters by celebrating each one with his trademark samba dance.
"I thought it ended perfectly," said Cruz. "If you ask me, I think we came out of a rough start and we executed.
"It says a lot. It says that we are out there on the same page." (Editing by Frank Pingue)