Thursday, December 15, 2011
Giants discover their running game
By Matt Ehalt
Balance may be on its way back to the Giants' offense.
After becoming primarily a passing team over the course of the season, the Giants have rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the past two games and the team is optimistic about where its running game is headed. It's just the second time this season the Giants have rushed for 100 in back-to-back games and the team will look to make it a season-high three straight times against Washington on Sunday.
"I thought we started to run a little bit better vs. Green Bay and I thought it was a continuation of continued improvement in [the Dallas] game," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "We don't have huge stats but I'm looking for consistency and I think for the most part, we got that."
In the last two weeks, the Giants have rushed for 100 yards against Green Bay and then 110 yards in the win over Dallas on Sunday night. Running back Brandon Jacobs rushed for 100 yards himself against Dallas.
A makeshift offensive line with two backups has been able to pave the way for such success.
"I didn't quite feel that we were back to where we were but I think it was steps in the right direction. And in order to get something back to the way it was, you have to take baby steps to go toward that goal -- and I felt good with how things worked out last week. And we just have to keep going," Jacobs said.
In each of the past two games, the Giants have had their full complement of running backs, which has been key. Ahmad Bradshaw has played in the past two games after missing four straight with a broken foot. While he hasn't lit up the stat sheet, he's been able to make an impact.
With Bradshaw back, Jacobs has been as effective as he has been all season as has rushed for 160 yards combined over the past two games, the most of any two-game stretch for him this season. Jacobs said it was a great feeling Sunday night to see holes in the defense and be able to take advantage of them.
"The obvious thing, just looking [at him], is he's running with great confidence and his cuts are much more decisive, more authoritative, he looks more physical and I think when you're feeling confident about what you're doing, you let it flow and that's what it looks like he's doing," Gilbride said. "The million dollar question is why and I don't have an answer for that. I'm just happy that it's starting to manifest itself and I think he's doing a good job and it's fun to watch and definitely helps us, no question."
With just three weeks left in the season and the weather getting colder -- making it tougher to rely on the pass -- it's going to be important for the Giants' running game to keep up its success.
"I think we got guys in the right place," Jacobs said of why he's confident. "I think guys are working hard and doing everything that they can do to make the run game work. I think our line is doing a fabulous job of moving guys out [of] the way and I think [Eli Manning] is doing a great job of getting us some things we need to be in and our coaches are confident in what we're doing and I'm confident in what we're doing. We have to keep it going."