By Sean Hartnett
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The Giants’ close defeat on Sunday night in Philadelphia proved they must become a more balanced attack. Ahmad Bradshaw struggled to make an impact on the ground, only rushing for 39 yards on 13 carries.
This forced the Giants to become too reliant on Eli Manning. Despite throwing a costly interception in the end zone to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the opening play of the fourth quarter, blame should not be assigned to Manning — who nearly pulled off yet another trademark winning drive.
The Giants’ offensive game-plan was far too predictable as they leaned heavily on an aerial attack. In most cases, Manning has proven he’s capable of carrying the Giants’ hopes with his magical arm, but what he needed was a little help from his running backs. Manning attempted 42 passes, while Michael Vick threw 30 times on Sunday night.
Many NFL experts anticipated the Giants putting tremendous pressure on Vick to force turnovers, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday. Through the first three games of the season, Vick committed a whopping nine turnovers.
Vick wasn’t in position to make mistakes on Sunday night due to the LeSean McCoy’s dominant second half. The Eagles’ star running back grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck after an underwhelming first half performance.
McCoy only rushed for two yards on six carries in the first half. Andy Reid intelligently stuck with McCoy, who took complete control in the second half by rushing for 121 second half yards.
McCoy dazzled on-lookers with his cutbacks and elusive running, but also tired-out the Giants’ defense.
The Giants must take a page from the Eagles’ playbook. Philadelphia struck the perfect balance by rushing 36 times and passing 30 times.
What surprised me was the lack of opportunities given to Giants’ backup running back Andre Brown. I expected Brown to get more carries after coming off a stellar 113-yard game against the Carolina Panthers.
Brown was only given five touches and only managed 14 yards. Five carries wasn’t enough work for Brown, who was underutilized on Sunday. His straight-ahead running style would have at the very least given the Giants a different look on the ground and may have worn down the Eagles’ stout defense.
Giants fans should expect Bradshaw to put in a stronger performance against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5, but Tom Coughlin should also give Brown a fair share of the load.
However Coughlin decides to split the carries, Bradshaw and Brown must step up their game. When the Giants return to MetLife Stadium to face the Browns, it’s up to the Giants’ running backs to take some of the offensive burden off Manning.
Are the Giants too reliant upon Manning? Let us know and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.