"It's like basic football. As long as you take care of the run, they're going to be forced to pass to get more extra yardage," Giants defensive tackle Mike Patterson said. "We were looking forward to that."
The Giants continued their stretch of being stout against top running backs as they held the rookie phenom to just 27 yards on 14 carries in their 27-13 win on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Giants held Lacy to his fewest rushing attempts in a game in which he wasn't injured.
"We did a great job against (their rushing attack), which we have done all year against the run, against a very good back, and a very good offensive line as well," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
Lacy has been one of the league's best rookies this season as his physical, downhill running style has made him a nightmare for opposing defenses. With Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined, Green Bay hasn't shied away from feeding the youngster and hoping he can help carry their offense.
The Packers tried establishing Lacy early Sunday, giving him the ball on first and second down on both of the first two Packers' drives. But the Giants filled the holes and didn't let him get to the second level of their defense. Lacy was usually swarmed by a group of defenders as soon as he broke the line of scrimmage, and didn't have much room to work with all game. His longest run was just five yards.
Lacy did have an impressive run in the fourth quarter, when he carried defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins into the end zone for a four-yard score that sliced the Giants' lead to 20-13 with 12:43 remaining. Lacy had 48 total yards and he also caught two passes for 21 yards. The 48 combined yards are at least 25 less than his rushing yards in each of his past six games.
"I think everyone played pretty well up front physical-wise. They have some big offensive lineman, can't count them down, those boys out there playing real well," Patterson said. "Up front everyone did well staying low, using our hands, playing the keys, and everything kind of came out our way."
When the Giants prepared to face the Vikings on Oct. 21, they entered that weekend's game ranked 26th in the league against the run. Over the past month, as they've shut down top running backs like Lacy, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson, the Giants improved to 11th entering Sunday's game.
Linebacker Jon Beason complimented the defensive line for its work in the trenches Sunday.
"You get those guys lined up collectively, they're as good as anyone, and I really believe that," Beason said. "It's like having windshield wipers out there. If they're going to make all the plays, that's fine with me. I'll stand in the second level, watch and enjoy the popcorn."