Hartnett: Ahmad Bradshaw Ignites Giants’ Ground Game
By Sean Hartnett
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The Giants only managed 69 total rushing yards against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5. New York’s yard per carry average was a horrendous 2.8, which forced their game plan to become overly reliant on their passing attack and predictable. If not for Seattle’s own turnovers, the Seahawks could have won by a greater margin than 36-25.
Week 6 presented the Giants with a difficult match-up against the Buffalo Bills, a resurgent team that had just defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 31-24. For New York to come away with a victory, they had to become a successful two-pronged attack. Eli Manning was carrying too much of the offensive load and all eyes were focused on embattled running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
After the defeat to Seattle, Bradshaw ripped into his offensive linemen behind closed doors and was so irate that he could be heard from outside. FOX cameras also picked up Bradshaw berating left tackle Will Beatty during the third quarter. Frustration had seeped into Big Blue’s locker room but there wasn’t any division between Bradshaw and his offensive line. Everyone involved shared responsibility for the Giants ranking of 28th in NFL rushing going into Week 6.
Without the injured Brandon Jacobs it was Bradshaw’s task to ignite the Giants’ lackluster rushing game. He had squarely placed the target upon himself as the Bills entered MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Now it was his moment to sink or swim.
Bradshaw not only delivered against the Bills but inspired his teammates to rally around him. His linemen paved the way as Bradshaw gained 104 yards and scored three touchdowns against Buffalo. It wasn’t pretty but together, the Giants got the job done by not turning the ball over and unrelentlessly pounding the Bills defense for four quarters.
Each of Bradshaw’s touchdowns was a one-yard bulldozing push into the endzone. There wasn’t anything pretty about that or the way the Giants completed a 76-yard drive to set up Lawrence Tynes for a clinching 23-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. Simply put, Bradshaw and the Giants delivered a hard-fought victory against tough opposition.
The Giants proved that they are a team that can win through an aerial assault or by smashing and pounding on the ground. Their defense has also made the important plays when necessary. Despite giving up 374 total yards, Big Blue’s defense seems to have a knack for making the stop or turnover that can kill the confidence of an opposing offense.
This has the G-Men in good spirits going to a bye week where they can recuperate after doing what was needed to improve their record to 4-2 and climb into first place in the NFC East. The week off should allow a few of their injured stars to recover and be ready in time for their Week 8 meeting against the Miami Dolphins.
Have the Giants become a more complete team that is ready to keep the pace as NFC East leaders? Share your opinions below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.