Well, let’s just say he was factor…a huge factor at that.
Brown rushed a career-high 30 times for a career-high 115 yards in the Giants’ 24-20 win over the Raiders.
But other than Brown, it was another mediocre performance for the Giants’ offense. With all the turnovers, it looked like the Giants reverted to their early season form.
Aside from the fumble by Jerrel Jernigan on the opening kickoff which led to a Raiders’ touchdown, Peyton Hillis put the ball on the ground on a screen pass, which set up a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.
Once Brown got into his rhythm, we saw very little of Hillis for the rest of the game.
It seemed like all game, the Giants would go three-and-out, then put up a good drive, and then have another three-and-out, etc.
When Eli Manning had time to throw, he was able to connect with his receivers downfield with decent gains. But he also made a few boneheaded plays, including his NFL-leading 16th interception of the season that resulted in a pick-six to Tracy Porter. Fun fact: Porter is now the only player to return an interception for a touchdown against both Peyton and Eli Manning.
On the Giants’ 11-play, 90-yard drive that resulted in a Rueben Randle touchdown, we really saw the potential of this offense. Brown ripped off a few nine-yard runs, and Manning hit all three of his big-time weapons on the drive.
But still, the turnovers could have been costly. All 17 points the Raiders scored in the first half came off Giants’ turnovers. Oakland gained only a combined 11 yards on those scoring drives.
Luckily, the Giants’ defense came up with a few huge plays, which allowed the offense to do just enough to win. Terrell Thomas’ 67-yard interception return set up a Brown touchdown run. Despite missing time to injury, Brown has now rushed for a touchdown in six straight games in which he’s been active.
On the drive that resulted in Josh Brown’s 23-yard field goal, the Giants really left some points on the board. Manning made a few great throws and Brown again had some good runs, but Manning threw a bad pass to Cruz that would have resulted in an easy touchdown. The Giants finished the game 2-for-3 in scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
The offensive line was not perfect, but the unit did a great job run blocking for Brown. And aside from allowing three sacks, the line gave Manning time to throw for the most part.
Fullback Jon Connor was an unsung hero for the G-Men. Brown may get all the credit for a career day, but Connor consistently led him through the holes.
It’s important to note that the entire Giants’ offensive unit did not commit a single penalty in the game. Meanwhile, the Raiders were flagged eight times for 65 yards, which wound up killing a few of Oakland’s drives.
So again, it wasn’t too pretty, but the Giants have now moved to 3-6 with their third straight win. Believe it or not, the Giants are the first team in the NFC East to win three consecutive games this season. The Cowboys could also accomplish this feat with a win over the Saints.
With Aaron Rodgers out next week for the Packers, the Giants’ road to an improbable playoff berth is unfolding with some help.
Big Blue just needs to keep putting up victories, even if they aren’t exactly pretty.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.