New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw now has a firm grasp on the backfield after a slow start.
The Giants running attack of Bradshaw, Andre Brown and rookie David Wilson has been a nice complement to Eli Manning’s dominant quarterback play.
Manning, averaging 309 passing yards per game, has the Giants passing game ranked second in total yards only behind the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees.
The passing game comes as no surprise. It’s the running game that has exceeded expectations.
The loss of Brandon Jacobs to the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason ended the era of the split-backs in New York. This year the weight has been on Bradshaw’s shoulders, and recently he’s delivered.
Here are three reasons Ahmad Bradshaw is the Giants' No. 1 option at running back.
Brown in a game against the Philly Sept. 30.
Running back Andre Brown has finally made a name for himself in the National Football League.
Running for virtually no yardage in 2010 for Denver and Indianapolis, Brown spent his 2011 season as a member of the Giants practice squad.
After an injury to Bradshaw early in the second quarter of the game against the Buccaneers Sept. 16, Brown finally got his shot. He rushed for 71 yards on 13 carries with one TD.
Another outstanding game from Brown against Carolina the following week would pad his resume to compete against Bradshaw’s for the starting job.
The Giants would not possess their 3-2 record without Andre Brown taking over in Bradshaw’s absence.
In the loss against the Philadelphia Eagles Sept. 30, Brown’s streak came to an end. The Giants running back came back down to Earth rushing for just 14 yards on five carries.
In addition to Brown’s lack of production last week, Coach Tom Coughlin announced to the media today that Brown suffered a concussion on a kick return against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. That’s bad news for Giants fans.
The injury to Brown definitely cements Bradshaw as the first option in this Giants running attack.
Bradshaw with a stiff-arm to Browns LB L.J. Ford in yesterday's game.
After the injury to Andre Brown at the beginning of the game yesterday, Bradshaw put the team on his back.
This was without question one of the most dominating performances of Bradshaw’s six-season career.
Yes, this was against a 0-5 Browns team whose defense ranks in the bottom third of the league, but it is still the NFL—there's talent everywhere.
The Giants came into this game fresh off a crushing loss to rival Philadelphia, where they had a total of 57 rushing yards.
Bradshaw rejuvenated the running game yesterday, rushing for an even 200 yards and one TD on 30 carries. The 200-yards rushing was a career high.
What was most impressive about yesterday’s performance was the run distribution. Rookie David Wilson got his two carries and one TD, but this rushing attack was all Bradshaw.
Coughlin and Bradshaw in a game against the Bills last year.
After five years in the dual-back system, it’s time for Bradshaw to take control of the running game.
Bradshaw gained Coughlin’s trust during his 2010 season when he proved to be the better back. During that season he rushed for 1,235 yards and eight TDs, both career highs at the time.
The following year Bradshaw rushed for fewer yards, but increased his touchdown production to nine on the season.
His yearly improvement has been enough for Coughlin to trust Bradshaw as a solo-back. So far, Bradshaw has had his fair share of ups and downs on the season, but a performance like yesterday’s is exactly what he needed.
If such performances continue for this Giants team, they will be well on their way to the postseason.
And if they happen to make the postseason, there is no doubt which player Coughlin will have lined up in the backfield on the first play: Ahmad Bradshaw.