Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New York Giants: The Return Of Smash Mouth Football

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:  G-Men Find Their Smash Mouth In San Francisco.  Offensive Line And
Running Game Rumble In The Bay Area.

For the tongue lashing Jim Harbaugh directed Kevin Gilbride's way,
the Giants offensive coordinator got the final say.
And here is the lesson he planned for the 49er's coach...

Forget balance.  Coach Kevin Gilbride is bucking trends.  Against the Niners and for the first time all season, Coach decided to run the ball more times than he elected to pass.  All praise him!  Eli attempted twenty eight passes.  Between Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson, the Giants rushed thirty four times and gained 151 yards.

It was the third time this season a Giants back rushed for over one hundred yards in a game.  When Bradshaw missed Game Three with an injury, Andre Brown stepped in and rushed for 113 yards. Ahmad returned in Week Four and rushed thirteen times for thirty nine yards.  Then came the explosion.  In the last two weeks and behind fullback Henry Hynoski, Ahmad Bradshaw has gained 316 yards on the ground.  Two hundred yards came against the Browns.

Last season's worst rushing offense now ranks 9th in the NFL.  Minus Eli Manning scrambling around, the Giants have run the ball 153 times this season for a net 750 yards.  That works out to 4.90 yards per attempt.  Eli Manning has attempted 225 passes this season.   So basically, Coach Gilbride is running the ball twice versus every three pass attempts.

David Wilson is also building momentum.  Since suffering through a not so nifty start, and a stint in the dog house, the rookie has rebounded well, if not impressively.  He has rushed the ball fifteen times this season for eighty eight yards, and one touchdown.  Thanks to seventy nine yards on seven carries over the last two weeks, he is sporting a 5.87 yards per carry average so far this season.

His work on special teams has been exceptional.  In six games and nineteen kick returns, David Wilson has amassed 540 yards.  That's nearly a 28.5 yards per return average.  Four times his game long return eclipsed thirty yards or better.  He gained his season best against the 49ers with a sixty six yard return.  Most impressive of all, he continues to blow by people with incredible bursts of speed.

As much speed as Wilson brings, and as elusive Ahmad Bradshaw is, none of this success could be possible without stellar play by the offensive line.  They took a cue from their offensive coordinator and delivered upon the 49ers and old fashioned package of smash mouth football; Giants style.  So far, only the Eagles have brought the running game to a halt back in Week Four.  Whenever the Giants have rushed twenty five times or more in a game, they eclipsed one hundred yards and won.  In the Giants two losses this season against Philly and Dallas, they only ran the ball nineteen times in each game and failed to gain ninety yards.

Despite Demarcus Ware and the Cowboys sacking Eli three times in the season opener, and two sacks surrendered to Carolina during a win, the offensive line has also pitched four shutouts.  They haven't allowed a sack since Week Three.

Center Davis Baas is far removed from issues that affected his early to mid 2011 regular season.  By December and certainly in the playoffs, Jerry Reese's free agent Line acquisition was proving his worth.  This season with Chris Snee to his right, and Kevin Boothe to his left, the three have re-formed into a solid core.  Ninth year Sean Locklear continued his surprisingly formidable play in place of David Diehl.  Will Beatty continues to effectively protect Eli's blind side.  Overall, the offensive line has every reason to feel highly confident about themselves.

This reconfigured line has pass protection seemingly down pat.  If Coach Gilbride keeps dialing up the run, so far the trend says the more they run, the better they get.


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