Giants’ ground game could be cure for losing streak
The Giants are in a rush to finally break into the win column, but in order to do that against the Bears Thursday night, they’ll need to actually rush the ball.
It’s a task easier said than done, considering the Giants’ rushing attack is last in the NFL at 56.8 yards a game, while the Bears’ defense is respectably ranked at No. 13 in the league in stopping the run and has only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season.
Making matters worse for the Giants is their league-worst running game, which will be without starting tailback David Wilson, who is out with a neck injury.
“Whoever is up dressed and ready to go, that’s who we’ll use,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.
Recently re-signed Da’Rel Scott will team with aging veteran Brandon Jacobs, who looked average at best in the loss to the Eagles last week.
“My expectations, for me, are to go out and help this team win,” said Jacobs. “My job is to do something that we haven’t done all year long and do whatever they need me to do. Pass protect, run hard, catch, whatever they ask me to do I have to go out there and get it done.”
The 11 carries Jacobs had against the Eagles were the most in a regular-season game in almost three years.
Jacobs and Scott have combined for 104 yards on 38 carries — a 2.7-yard average — and it doesn’t help that the Bears have an aggressive front-seven run defense and cornerbacks who are ready and able to help stop the run.
“It will be a challenge, even if you had everybody [healthy], just because they’re such a talented defense. They’re so powerfully strong. The way they play this game is a mixture of man [defense], [but] primarily a zone, [so] guys are all looking [into the opponents’ backfield]. You don’t have five or six guys turning their backs to the play,” Gilbride said. “They’re all focused in on the ball and they take great pride. They’ve got great tradition. It’s going to be difficult. But I’m sure [our] guys are going to give it their best shot and the line is going to give it their best shot and we’ll see what we can do.”
Once Wilson went down with an injury late in the first quarter, Jacobs stepped in and rushed for just 37 yards. He also lost a fumble without even being touched, dropped a pass and was the cause of one of Eli Manning’s three intentional grounding penalties when he failed to get into the flat quick enough as a safety valve.
“I can handle a full load, there’s no question,” Jacobs said. “I’ll be hurting the next day, I’m not going to lie, but I can definitely handle a full workload if I need to. We brought Da’Rel back to do some stuff. I’m ready. Whatever they ask me, I’m ready to go. I’m in good shape, just whatever they ask me to do.”
Gilbride is confident the veteran can carry the brunt and produce positive results.
“He did it last Sunday, so that’s probably as good of an indicator as any,” Gilbride said. “We had no intention of having him play as much as he did [but] he held up well. For a guy that we’ve asked to do so many things that he hadn’t had to do — [like] he hadn’t been a third-down back for years — he did very well.”
Big Blue notes …
» The Giants’ rushing attack clearly needs a boost. Wilson is the team’s leading rusher with 146 yards, or a meager 29.2 yards a game. He and the team have the same average of 3.3 yards per carry. The Giants do not have a run longer than 18 yards this season.
» The Giants officially listed cornerback Corey Webster as out with a groin injury.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.