Giants believe they can run vs. Falcons

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
4:51
PM ET
The Giants finished the regular season with the worst rushing offense in the NFL, averaging just 89.2 yards per game on the ground.

But running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw both feel confident they can have success against the Falcons on Sunday.

"I think it still can be a little better, but for the last month of the season, we definitely ran the ball a lot better," Jacobs said after Thursday's practice. "I don’t see why we can’t run the ball in the playoffs."

"I just feel like we are getting better and we are coming together," said Bradshaw.

The Giants did improve toward the end of the regular season, rushing for over 100 yards in four of their last five games, beginning with their close loss to the Packers on Dec. 4.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Thursday that the team made a renewed commitment to trying to run the ball starting with that game against Green Bay. But when asked why the team struggled to run the ball for so long prior to that, Gilbride admitted he was not sure.

"I wish we had the magic answer," said Gilbride. "I think the runners are doing a better job of staying inside and hitting the holes the way they should. I think the linemen are doing a better job. It really started ironically enough with Mitch [Petrus] at left guard, and Kevin Boothe [at center], and then now that David [Baas] is back it’s continued.

"I don’t know what galvanized it or sparked it, but something got it going."

Reaching the 100-yard mark won't be easy on Sunday -- the Falcons boast the sixth-best rushing defense in the league, giving up 97 yards per game. "The Falcons are a very fast defensive front, their linebackers run very well," said Jacobs. "It is definitely going to be a challenge for us, but I honestly don’t see a reason why we can’t [run the ball]. Just like every week, I have confidence in our running game."

He's not the only one. Veteran guard Chris Snee thinks the Giants could be on the verge of a breakthrough on the ground.

"We have been able to do some positive things lately and hoping to build on that," said Snee. "It has been a frustrating thing, but something we haven’t gotten down on. We still come in and try to run the ball and we are still working as hard as we can in practice and the film room. It is something you have to stick with.

"I am not lying to you when I say that, it is close."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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