You never thought anyone would find a way to use 'Brandon Jacobs' and 'quietly' in the same sentence. I say quietly because he is amidst a stretch of pretty good football that has been overshadowed by some of his, to put it kindly, "moments."
Most of us also never thought we’d see the day where the Giants featured one of the league’s most incompetent rushing attacks. We had become accustomed to each season ending with the G-Men right near the top of the league’s rushing totals (the Giants finished in the top six in rushing yardage in 2007, 2008 and 2010). But in 2011, the Giants are dead last in rushing at 3.5 yards/carry, and dead last in rushing yards from scrimmage as well.
So take this praise with a grain of salt.
Over the last several weeks, the running game has taken some steps in the right direction. When you are at the bottom, the only place to go is up, so we are not getting carried away either. Rushing for over 110 yards against both the Cowboys and the Jets, that rate would put them at 19th out of 32 teams. So do not get us wrong... overall, they haven’t been impressive by almost any measure.
Bradshaw may finally feel comfortable. Two touchdowns against the Jets had to give him confidence as he slowly recovers from his injury. Running over Pool was a statement about the need to be physical.
Brandon Jacobs, who has been a target of fans, has actually played very well in the last four weeks despite a limited number of carries. While Ahmad Bradshaw has shown flashes of his old self, especially in the second half of the Jets game, No. 27 is currently the best back at the Giants disposal, despite what the boo birds will tell you.
Jacobs has rushed for 235 yards on just 42 carries in his last four games, good for 5.6 yards per attempt. He also has three touchdowns during this stretch. Although 42 carries over four games is certainly a limited sample, the Giants would be wise to feed the ball to the guy picking up nearly six yards a clip.
This includes Jacobs’ performance against Dallas. The Cowboys always brings out the best in Jacobs; he had 101 yards on 19 carries and found the end zone twice. Jacobs is a hard worker and a proud Giant, despite the regular bonehead comments that seem to provide sound bites to the media.
We cannot overlook the role of the OL in this discussion. When Beatty and Baas went out, replaced by Boothe and Petrus, the OL saw some life. Baas has been fighting through injuries all year, and generally speaking he has not been able to get surge to the second level.
Forecasts call for winds to be around 15 mph so both teams will have to rely on the ground game. Jacobs, who still may be steaming from last week’s game, needs no extra motivation for facing Dallas, the team he hates the most.
Is he the ideal back? No. There are far too many games where his dancing at the line makes him a non-factor. But lately we have been seeing less tiptoeing and more North-South running. His first few carries are generally slow but by his 3rd of fourth carry he seems to be running harder. Could the team improve its running back situation in the off-season? Sure. A hard downhill runner like Ben Tate would be the perfect compliment to a back like Bradshaw. But you work with what you have and right now Jacobs is what the Giants have.
If 27 keeps running with passion and 44 can build off of H2 last week (with that leg drive that we all have come to love), then maybe, just maybe, we can take the Giants sad ground game off of life support.
It’s going to take GIANTS FOOTBALL to win this one on Sunday. Here’s to hoping that they have it in them. I think they find a way and I think Jacobs plays a big part in it.