- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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Brandon Jacobs could hear the Giants' defense talking to him all day as his team beat the Falcons 24-2. It was like they were fueling him.
“’Keep running it, big back,’” Jacobs said he heard. “’Keep running it big back because there’s nothing they can do to you. Trust me, we play defense, they don’t want to hit you.’”
Jacobs used that as motivation as he nailed the ball to the first-down marker on a fourth-and-1 in the second quarter. The play got the Giants to the Falcons' 4, when QB Eli Manning hit WR Hakeem Nicks in the end zone with a touchdown pass for a 7-2 lead.
“We feel as tough as any NFL team in the league,” Jacobs' fellow back, Ahmad Bradshaw said.
Jacobs had 14 carries for 92 yards and Bradshaw had 63 yards on 14 carries plus 22 receiving yards on five catches. Jacobs had two catches for 8 yards. As a team, the Giants averaged a meaty 5.5 yards per run.
“Confidence, man,” Bradshaw said. “We feel real good about our running game and we stick to it. Like I said, we keep running and keep pressuring. We are more comfortable and we play better ball.”
Both runners proved their mettle, staying up despite contact. Jacobs had 47 yards after being touched by the Falcons, and Bradshaw had 43 according to ESPN Stats & Information. Jacobs’ season-high in that unofficial stat was 41 yards in Week 14.
Both had big, breakout runs at key moments. Bradshaw had a 30-yard run in the third quarter which led to a 22-yard field goal and a 10-2 Giants lead. In the fourth, Jacobs popped off back-to-back runs of 14 and 15 yards as the Giants shut out daylight from the fading Falcons.
“We just stuck with it,” offensive lineman Chris Snee said. “That’s what we’ve done all year. we couldn’t get down, we couldn’t get discouraged. I thought throughout the course of the year we were close to breaking some runs, and we proved me right today.”
It was a balanced offense, which the Giants will need if they want to reverse the 38-35 final score from their loss to the Packers earlier this season.
“Green Bay is a very good football team,” Jacobs said. “We all know that.”