By Sean Hartnett
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When Ahmad Bradshaw injured his neck against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a window of opportunity opened for Andre Brown. After a devastating rookie season Achilles injury and years spent bouncing around NFL practice squads, his long-awaited chance finally came.
Brown has taken his opportunity and ran with it. Literally. Last Sunday, Brown rushed for 71 yards on 13 carries against the Bucs and played a large part in shaping the Giants’ dramatic fourth quarter comeback.
With Bradshaw ruled out of Thursday night’s matchup, Brown was ushered in as starting running back for the Giants’ clash with the Carolina Panthers.
No one really knew how Brown would perform against Carolina. Previously, Brown’s career statistics was his action on Sunday against the Bucs and two rushes for the 2010 Denver Broncos for -1 yards.
Brown set the tone on the ground on Thursday. He patiently waited for holes to open in the Panthers’ defense and ran for 113 yards on 20 carries. His early success rushing the ball allowed Eli Manning to exploit Carolina through the air.
Manning only needed to throw 35 pass attempts against the Panthers, compared to the 51 passes he slung against the Bucs. Brown’s domination on the ground gave the Giants a more balanced attack against the Panthers.
This is something that can serve them well against the Philadelphia Eagles in week four. Bradshaw will have nine days to recover from his neck injury and will likely return for the Giants’ major test in Philly.
Already, fans and NFL analysts are speculating whether Brown or Bradshaw will get the majority of carries against the Eagles. Tom Coughlin could lean on Bradshaw should he fully recover as he’s more of a proven commodity and is excellent in pass protection.
That isn’t to say Brown won’t get his chances against the Eagles. Meanwhile, rookie David Wilson is going to have to wait his turn. Wilson only had one rushing attempt for -2 yards and one reception for 3 yards against the Panthers on Thursday night.
It’s only two games, but Giants fans are excited by what they’re seeing in Brown. Time will tell whether he can wrestle the number one running back job from Bradshaw or will be a more complimentary piece in the Giants’ rushing attack.
Who do you expect to carry the load against the Eagles? Brown or Bradshaw? Share your thoughts below and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.