Commentary

Giants' running game must come alive

After a lackluster Week 1, Ahmad Bradshaw & Co. has to get going against the Rams

Updated: September 19, 2011, 8:17 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

It wasn't quite a "get me the damn ball" demand from Ahmad Bradshaw. But it was damn close.

Bradshaw was asked about the New York Giants' seven rushing attempts in the second half of the season-opening loss to the Washington Redskins.

"I don't wanna see nothing like that again," he said.

Giants fans can likely relate.

There were many reasons Tom Coughlin & Co. came up empty in Week 1 in Washington.

A punchless running game was near the top. The Giants ran for just 75 yards against the Redskins, the 10th-lowest total in the league. Granted, Bradshaw and Jacobs had limited opportunities. They ran the ball a combined 19 times, with Jacobs getting just six carries and only one in the second half.

Does Bradshaw want to see the Giants run the ball more Monday against the Rams?

"Definitely," he said. "… We know what we can do with the ball in our hands. We know how much it opens up the offense."

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride defended his pass-run ratio (32-20), noting that Washington stacked eight men near the line of scrimmage for much of the final two quarters.

It didn't help that the Giants went just 1-for-10 on third down and Bradshaw failed to convert twice with his team needing just 1 yard for a first down.

"We'd love to establish the run," Gilbride said. "… But you have to look at the situation."

The situation Monday night should allow Jacobs and Bradshaw to get back on track.

Top wideout Hakeem Nicks is questionable with a knee injury and the Giants have yet to find a suitable replacement for Steve Smith, so they will likely lean on their running game as they try to avoid an 0-2 start.

"This is definitely one we've got to have," Jacobs said.

It should be a bit easier to get the ground game going against the St. Louis Rams.

St. Louis allowed a league-high 236 rushing yards last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Running back LeSean McCoy ran for 122 yards. Michael Vick had 97.

No one's expecting Eli Manning to run for anywhere near Vick's total on Monday night. So it will be on Bradshaw and Jacobs to get the Giants off and running in their home opener, a challenge that Bradshaw welcomes.

"We love to run the ball, and I think we have the best backs in the league," he said. "… We're ready."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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