NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The Cowboys seem to be focusing their energy on running back Brandon Jacobs.
But watch out, Dallas. Ahmad Bradshaw is back.
Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins started the war of words on Wednesday, calling Jacobs a “bully.” No. 27 took it as a compliment.
“I am a bully,” Jacobs fired back. “I think people who call out bullies are afraid of bullies. If they call me a bully, that’s how I see it. They’re just sitting back waiting for us to go in there — and we’re going there ready to play football.”
Bradshaw didn’t have big statistics in his first game since breaking a bone in his right foot against Miami Oct. 30. He carried 11 times for 38 yards and caught five passes for 5 more.
The way Bradshaw played, though, was the key. He carried three defenders for a 7-yard gain on first down and ran for 5 more on second. The two runs brought the Packers defensive backfield closer to the line of scrimmage on third down, and Eli Manning followed with a 67-yard scoring pass to tight end Travis Beckum.
It’s the kind of performance that the Giants (6-6) are going to need on Sunday night when they face the Cowboys (7-5) in Dallas in a game for first place in the NFC East.
“He definitely got us going,” Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Thursday. “It’s not a big deal, but the energy that he took a 3-yard gain and turned it into four more yards it was like: ‘We’re coming to play. We’re going to be physical. You’re going to have to play your best to beat us because we are not backing down.'”
The Packers (12-0) did answer that challenge in a 38-35 victory, but the Giants also showed heart in rebounding from a lopsided loss to the Saints the previous Monday and giving Green Bay its toughest game of the season.
What made Bradshaw’s performance so inspiring is that every teammate knows he is playing in pain. The bone in his right foot is not healed and it only allows the 25-year-old to practice once a week – on Friday.
That’s the way it will be again this week.
“Not being with my teammates and not playing the games for the last four weeks, just to be out there, I just wanted to be at everything,” Bradshaw said. “It was almost like I wanted to put everyone on my back and play for everyone. As much as I wanted to play, as pumped as I was before, I just think I had to come out and just give us the energy, the enthusiasm to have a good game.”
The enthusiasm that Bradshaw showed picked up his teammates in more ways than one.
It earned him the nickname “Bulldog” from Jacobs and also seemed to wake up his fellow running back, who had been getting the majority of carries with Bradshaw sidelined. For the first time in weeks, the 260-pound Jacobs ran like a bull. He gained 59 yards on eight carries and there were at least two plays were he was a half-step away from breaking a long run.
“I thought the line got in there and moved guys and I thought we ran well as backs,” said Jacobs, who intends to play Sunday despite missing two practices with a hamstring injury. “I thought having Ahmad back was a big help to our offense and Danny (D.J. Ware) doing the things he did, doing his role.
“If we can put it together like that from here on out, we’ll be fine.”
Defensive captain Justin Tuck watched Jacobs on Sunday and was really impressed.
“That guy, when he wants to run the ball, and he is using that 260-pound frame, it can be an intimidating force,” Tuck said. “I saw a lot of times guys seeing him in the hole and going straight for his ankles. It starts to wear on you as a defensive player when you have a guy that big coming at you full steam. I always tell him in the first quarter they are going to try to face you straight up. Second quarter they may slide and ask for a teammate to help them. Third quarter they will be jumping out of your way.
“He understands how much of a dominating back he can be.”
The running game was been baffling for the Giants. One of the best in the league two years ago, it is ranked last this season, averaging 83.8 yards. However against the Packers, it had 100 yards on 20 carries, which is just what an offense wants – 5 yards a pop.
NOTES: DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle), C David Baas (severe headaches) and LB Mark Herzlich (ankle) did not practice and probably won’t play this weekend. … S Kenny Phillips (sprained left knee) is feeling better but is day to day. … There seems to be some word coming out of Dallas that Tuck thinks Cowboys Stadium is a dump and that Tuck is jealous he’s not a Cowboy. It was news to him. “Obviously, they have a pretty nice stadium and as far as me wanting to be a Cowboy, I don’t wear Wranglers, I don’t wear cowboy hats or boots or those buckle belts. I don’t wear none of that. I don’t need a star on my helmet to tell me I am pretty good at what I do.”
Did Jacobs have the perfect comeback for Dallas? Be heard in the comments below…
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