After finishing 10-6 and nearly making the playoffs the previous season, the Browns went into 2008 with high expectations.
And on Oct. 13, they showed a Monday Night Football audience and a raucous crowd of 73,102 at FirstEnergy Stadium just how good they could they be when they played the New York Giants.
Hitting on all cylinders -- and then some -- the Browns rolled past the defending Super Bowl champions, 35-14.
In raising their record to 2-3 and handing the Giants (4-1) what would turn out to be their most lopsided defeat of the year on the way to capturing the NFL East championship at 12-4, the Browns established season highs by amassing 454 total yards and 310 yards passing. Derek Anderson completed 18 of 29 passing attempts for two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Wide receiver Braylon Edwards had one of the bigger days ever by a Browns pass catcher with 154 yards receiving on five grabs, including a 70-yarder that was the longest on the club in 2008. He also had a touchdown reception.
Even without injured starter Kellen Winslow, the Browns got a lot of production by their tight ends as Steve Heiden had five catches for 59 yards and Darnell Dinkins added a scoring grab.
Jamal Lewis rushed for 88 yards in 21 carries, and Jerome Harrison had a 33-yard run.
Defensively, the Browns held quarterback Eli Manning, the MVP of the Giants’ Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots eight-and-a-half months before, to 196 yards passing and intercepted him three times. One of the interceptions was returned 94 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Eric Wright in the fourth quarter to close the night’s scoring and put a big, bold exclamation point behind the Browns’ one-sided victory.
The Browns led, 3-0, after one quarter on Phil Dawson’s 28-yard field goal before things really heated up in the second quarter with four touchdowns scored, two by each team.
The Giants began the scoring run with Brandon Jacobs’ seven-yard run, then Lewis ran four yards and Dinkins caught a 22-yard pass. It ended with Manning’s three-yard pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress to leave Cleveland ahead, 17-14, at halftime.
The second half was all Browns.
The only scoring in the third quarter was a 26-yard field goal by Dawson to make it 20-14.
Anderson’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Edwards on the first play of the fourth quarter bulked the lead to 27-14, but the Browns wanted – and needed – something more to solidify the victory. That came six-and-a-half minutes later. After the Giants drove to the Cleveland 9, Manning tried to hit wide receiver Amani Toomer with a short pass to the right side. But Wright stepped in front to grab the ball and make like a sprinter as he raced nearly the length of the field into the end zone.
Giants center -- and former Brown -- Shaun O’Hara said afterward that he could sense before the game that his old team was ready to have a big night. He was right.
This Day in Browns History is presented by Cleveland Clinic.