- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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PHILADELPHIA -- Peyton Hillis' 70 rushing yards on 20 carries Sunday isn't exactly an eye-popping stat, but it's more than satisfactory for a New York Giants' run game that has ranked at or near the bottom of the league all season long. Mix in Michael Cox's 19 yards on nine carries and the team very nearly got to 3.0 yards per rush for the game. Again, nothing special, but a significant upgrade over the state of the run game in September, when it was basically crippling the offense.
"I think I'm a good fit here, and whatever it is they want me to do, I'm going to do it," Hillis said after the game. "I'm grateful for the opportunity."
It came because of injuries to David Wilson, Andre Brown, Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott, but the Giants are glad they found Hillis at the bottom of that pile. Not only is he banging out two- and three-yard gains that allow them to feel they're balancing their offense, he's also helping in the passing game -- as a receiver out of the backfield and as a blitz-pickup running back in pass protection. Those two aspects of his game are critical in helping quarterback Eli Manning feel more comfortable than he felt earlier in the season.
"I think we need to get in better position and continue to work hard to open up some more holes on the offensive line to be able to run the ball better," Manning said. "I have to do a better job seeing the clock and not making us rush through things on offense. I think Cox ran the ball really well and has done a nice job."
Work in progress, this running game. And with Brown eligible to return from his broken leg in Week 10 and Jacobs presumably over his hamstring injury at some point in the future, their options in the run game could be expanding soon. Wilson isn't even officially out for the season with his neck injury. The Giants aren't a running team and won't be anytime soon. But at least what they have in the run game now is representative, where it wasn't before.