The New York Giants have been far from consistent of late, so we'll try not to get too excited about their 52-point output in a 25-point victory over the New Orleans Saints Sunday. The G-men are still expected to have their hands full in Atlanta and Baltimore the next two weeks, and the entire NFC East won in Week 14. This is far from over.
Yet one important takeaway from Sunday's victory is that Eli Manning has found himself another weapon that can be relied on as the team makes another championship run. Rookie running back David Wilson saw his workload get heavier with Andre Brown out and Ahmad Bradshaw hobbled, and the first-round pick delivered with his first 100-yard game, a pair of rushing touchdowns and a 97-yard score on a kick return, to boot.
David Wilson joins Maurice Jones-Drew as the only players since 1960 with 2 rush TD & a kickoff ret TD in the same game— Check The Ticker (@ChecktheTicker) December 10, 2012
I've said this time and time again, but it bears repeating that in order to repeat in the National Football League, teams absolutely have to improve. It might not be completely logical on the surface, but simply putting forth the same effort and performances isn't usually enough for a defending Super Bowl champion to reclaim the Lombardi Trophy.
And so while it was encouraging to see Eli Manning throw four touchdown passes, we've seen that before. We've also seen Victor Cruz explode and we've seen the defense make big plays, so none of that was new.
But Wilson was the Giants' best player on Sunday, which, based on what I noted above about having to get better to repeat, might mean that a rookie who was barely a factor until December could end up making a Super Bowl-sized difference in New York this season.
No one ran the ball worse than the Giants in 2011, when they averaged a league-low 3.5 yards per rushing attempt. But that running game was stronger late and in the playoffs, taking pressure off of Manning. This year, we have another indication that the Giants can step it up on the ground and establish that necessary balance again.
David Wilson's playmaking ability could change everything for the Giants. No pressure, rook.