Bradshaw reaches milestone in win

December, 30, 2012
12/30/12
8:23
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ahmad Bradshaw didn't start on Sunday, but he reached a major milestone nonetheless.

The sixth-year running back reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second time in his career, helping the Giants to a 42-7 rout of the Eagles.

Bradshaw had 16 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown, and also had a 41-yard gain on a reception. He finished the season with 1,015 rushing yards.

[+] EnlargeAhmad Bradshaw
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsAhmad Bradshaw rushed for 1,015 yards in 2012.
"It feels great," said Bradshaw. "It was a big goal at the beginning of the year, and we just wanted to have a better year than last year rushing the ball, and I think we did."

He's right. A year ago, the Giants were ranked dead-last in rushing, with 1,427 yards. This season the team finished with 1,872, which will place them in the middle of the pack.

Of course, last season the Giants won the Super Bowl. This season they didn't even make the playoffs.

Bradshaw was certainly disappointed about that, but pleased with the team's performance against the Eagles.

"We’re very happy with it," Bradshaw said. "We just wanted to come out and have a lot of fun today, and that’s what we did. We knew this could be the last ride for a lot of guys to be Giants, and we just wanted to have fun with those guys."

"It could be me at the same token," Bradshaw added, "so I just wanted to come out and put it all on the field."

Could it be Bradshaw's last game with the Giants? Who knows? He's only 26, and is coming off his second-most productive season -- he rushed for 1,235 yards in 2010. But Bradshaw has been injury-prone, playing through knee and foot injuries for much of this year. Most weeks, Bradshaw would only practice once, on Fridays, to rest and preserve his body.

How many more hits can the 5-foot-10, 214-pound back endure?

The Giants invested a first-round draft pick last spring in running back David Wilson, who started in place of Bradshaw against the Eagles, and had 15 carries for 75 yards and a receiving score. Wilson showed flashes of stardom in his rookie year, and could be ready for a much bigger role in 2013.

Bradshaw has become a team leader, inspiring other players with his ability to play through pain. But he sounded nostalgic after the game.

"I can’t look back on anything and regret anything," Bradshaw said. "This organization is the best in the business. Just the people around, the pride in the building, the heart of the game that these guys have player-wise, it’s top of the line."
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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