Despite Jacobs’ motivating reply following some schoolyard name-calling on the part of the New York Giants’ Week 14 opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, the reality is that Brandon Jacobs is merely a shell of his former self. In 10 games for the Giants this season, the 6'5", 260-pound running back has rushed for a meager 379 yards—good enough for second on the team behind Ahmad Bradshaw, despite Bradshaw missing the last month with a foot injury.
The reply comes in light of Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins’ comments stating that Jacobs is a “bully."
Jacobs has been anything but a bully for the Giants, though, in 2011. In Bradshaw’s absence, Jacobs failed to step up and truly carry the load for the Giants, forcing quarterback Eli Manning to lift the Giants on nearly every offensive drive.
After a good, 72-yard performance in the Giants’ win against the New England Patriots, Jacobs averaged just 33.7 yards per game. Jacobs continued to hit the line with little steam and showed little effort to break tackles at his legs. Teams have had no trouble stopping Jacobs, and there’s no reason to believe the NFL’s ninth-ranked rush defense will either.
The Giants (6-6) and NFC East-leading Cowboys (7-5) meet for the first time this season on Sunday in Cowboys Stadium with a vital opportunity in the NFC playoff race. The Giants have lost four straight games, including a heartbreaking final-minute loss to the undefeated Green Bay Packers in Week 13, while the Cowboys have won four of their last five.
The Cowboys missed an opportunity to gain a two-game edge on the Giants, due in part to a questionable timeout call by their head coach, Jason Garrett, which essentially “iced” their kicker and caused him to miss a 49-yard field goal as regulation time expired against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals won on a 52-yard touchdown reception by LaRod Stephens-Howling in overtime.
Jacobs has had mixed success against the Cowboys in the past. Last season, Jacobs ran for 75 yards on 12 carries for 6.2 yards per carry in a Week 7 victory, only to turn out a disappointing performance with just 3.4 yards per carry en route to a Week 10 loss at home against Jon Kitna and the ‘Boys.
The 33-20 loss, highlighted by poor offensive execution, contributed to another second-half collapse for the Giants that caused them to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
With the Giants’ playoff hopes clinging for dear life, New York must play as they have since they opened Cowboys Stadium against the Cowboys in 2009—the Giants are 2-0 in Cowboys Stadium. A solid performance from Brandon Jacobs would help, but this season has shown that is unlikely to be the case come Sunday.
The big man from Southern Illinois was once a dangerous force that ignited fear within his opposition, but now, he brings nothing more than the fear of a fleeting headache if you make the mistake of tackling him too high.
Brandon Jacobs, you are a bully.
Unfortunately, your bullying stops the moment the ball is snapped.