EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants selected David Wilson in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft for his speed and elusiveness.
Those abilities were on full display Sunday.
The 21-year-old rookie running back out of Virginia Tech scored his first professional touchdown -- a 40-yard run -- with 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Giants' 41-27 rout of the Browns at MetLife Stadium.
“I could literally hear him as he went by,” guard Chris Snee said. “It sounded pretty fast.”
After he scored, Wilson did a backflip. Yes, a backflip.
“It’s just something I learned when I was real young,” said Wilson, who finished with two carries for 44 yards, along with four kickoff returns for 54 yards. “When I was drafted, one of the commentators said, 'I can’t wait to see you do a backflip after you score.' So I just did it that one time for him. You might see it again.”
Asked to describe the TD run, Wilson replied, “I just saw space. The offensive line did a great job. I just ran through the hole they created.”
Not bad for a guy that was benched in his NFL debut after losing a fumble on his second-ever carry.
“I mean, the fumble was a long time ago,” Wilson said. “I’m a football player and I’ve fumbled before. The fumble is in the past for me, it’s been in the past ever since it happened. I’m just going out there and preparing and executing each week.”
If Andre Brown’s concussion keeps him out for a while, Wilson would likely once again assume the backup role behind starter Ahmad Bradshaw.
“I mean, that’s up to the coaches,” Wilson said. “I’m just gonna prepare every week and be ready.”
Behind Bradshaw’s career-best day (200 yards) and Wilson, the Giants ran for a season-best 243 yards on 34 carries.
“It was a big statement because last year we were last in the league in rushing,” Wilson said. “You’ve gotta give credit to the offensive line, they did a great job.”
The safety atoned for it later, recording a game-changing interception and a fumble recovery just minutes apart in the first half that set the stage for his team’s comeback.
“Probably not. Probably not,” Brown responded, when asked if he’d ever had a sequence like that before. “To get two turnovers in that span of time -- I’d say that’s never happened.”
On the Gordon touchdown, Brown was supposed to give Chase Blackburn help over the top. But he didn’t, and Blackburn got, well, burned.
The Giants were trailing 17-10 when Brown anticipated an overthrow by Weeden in New York territory and took it back 46 yards to set up Bradshaw’s game-tying TD.
Then, on the ensuing kickoff, he scooped up a fumble that Will Hill forced. Five plays later, the Giants had the lead for good.
“I mean, I’ve always felt blessed,” said Brown, who was starting in place of the injured Kenny Phillips. “There are only so many people who play this game, and even though I have bounced around in three years, I’ve always played in those three years. I’ve always felt blessed to play this game. I love this game, and I couldn’t imagine (doing) anything else.”