The Giants are getting steamrolled on the ground

Redskins ball, 1 point lead, 3:51 left on the clock:

  • Griffin for 8.
  • Young for 4. First down.
  • Morris for 2. Giants burn their 2nd time out.
  • Skins’ patented play action 10 yard slant to Garcon for 17. First down. Two minute warning.
  • Morris for 4. Giants call last time out.
  • Morris for 3.
  • Morris for 6. First down. Ballgame.

The Giants knew the run was coming, and they couldn’t stop it.  That’s not the first time that has happened this season.  In Week 1 against the Cowboys in a “bleed the clock” scenario, DeMarco Murray ran for 1, 7, and 3 yards to seal the game, but the Giants were bailed out on a Jason Witten hold.  They then converted a first down pass on 3rd and long to seal it.  Then later in the season, in another obvious “bleed the clock” scenario, the slow-footed Isaac Redman broke off a 28 yard run to put the Giants away.

The Giants are 21st in Run D, giving up 121.8 yards per game. They’ve gotten big early leads in four games this season against the Panthers, 49ers, the second Cowboys matchup, and the Packers.

If you exclude those games, here is what the opposing lead back has done against the Giants in games in which they weren’t forced to abandon the run:

Opposing RB Att Yards Avg TD
DeMarco Murray, Cowboys 20 131 6.6 0
Doug Martin, Buccaneers 20 66 3.3 1
LeSean McCoy, Eagles 23 123 5.3 0
Trent Richardson, Browns 17 81 4.8 1
Isaac Redman, Steelers 26 147 5.7 1
Alfred Morris, Redskins 22 120 5.5 0
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals 15 50 3.3 0
Alfred Morris, Redskins 22 124 5.6 0
TOTAL 165 842 5.1 3

That 5.1 yards per carry average is very concerning.  In today’s NFL, there’s a perception that the run game doesn’t matter all that much anymore, that it has become a passing league.  To some degree, that’s true… on offense.  There are teams that have QBs and weapons in the passing game that are so good that they can move the ball even without a competent run game.  Look no further than the Giants’ 32nd ranked rushing attack last season that won the Super Bowl.  However, on defense, you better be able to stop the run, or you’re in big trouble.

The Skins steamrolled the Giants last night to the tune of 207 yards on the ground.  While the Skins run more of an exotic rushing attack, the Giants still knew it was coming, and they couldn’t stop it.  I wonder how fixable that is.


  1. brisulph says:

    More atrocious and galling than that is Locklear done for the year, meaning turnstile will be playing RT again. What little bit of running the Giants have generated is going to dry up, so they best become heavy pass oriented right off, or they are going to sink like a stone in the division.

  2. Roy says:

    So does this lift the Skins out of the “graveyard”?

  3. TylerD says:

    Well since last year the Giants finished in the bottom 5 against the run you have to assume that this is not a trend and their run D is just that bad

  4. mjoedgaard says:

    JPP looked lost out there. He kept crashing hard inside. On a side note, seems people overrated JPP before the season began alittle to much. I know he have been alittle banged up, but I wouldnt even put him in as a top 10 defender this season (remember people talked about him as the most devasting defensive player and a top pre season pick for DPOY)

    1. Yeah, good call. The Skins burned JPP badly with the read option. Looked like Babin out there at times, biting on fakes. Bad game for him, which is rare, but in fairness (as you noted), he’s playing with a significant injury.

      1. mjoedgaard says:

        It blowed me away that he was that bad against the read option, because this is the 3rd times he sees this year and I remember he did a good job against Cam Newton.

        1. Mike K says:

          Couldn’t it be that having JPP crash down on Morris was the Giants strategy for stopping the option?

          I remember from my own football days – although I never played anything remotely close to NFL level 🙂 – when we were defending against an option offense: the defensive end was supposed to crash in on the running back and take him out. And then the rest of the defense could worry about the QB.

          But then again. If the QB is RGII, that might not be a very good strategy.

          1. mjoedgaard says:

            The best way to defend option is if the end stays wide and force the ball inside or fake the crash and tackle the QB (he did that against Cam Newton a few times.)

            1. horatius says:

              I don’t think JPP’s gonna catch RG3 if he is more than an arm’s length away before RG3 sees him.

            2. horatius says:

              Here’s what happens when JPP tries to stay wide to tackle RG3.


        2. dannymac56 says:

          My thinking is the Giants assigned the crash to DE, trying to get the Will and Mike LBs to scrape over top for pitch and QB. There is no “right way” to play this yet, though most teams have had a bit of success backing their LBs to about 6-7 yards to avoid getting caught in traffic (see Stanford beating Oregon).

          The Giants clearly didn’t do that- their LBs were around 3-4 at times, with Boley and Blackburn getting caught in traffic a lot. Their strategy seemed to be to bring 8 in the box with safeties and use the DL to pinch (definitely JPP and Kiwi) and spill it all outside. It’s not a terrible idea… but it didn’t work.

          In truth, you need some talented LBs to defend the Nevada-read, and they straight up don’t have the guys for it.

          1. mjoedgaard says:

            I admit Im not expert. I just wonder why the Giants defense looked to unprepared for it. It was like it was the first time they ever saw it. I know the Giants does not have the best LBs in the world, but it smells like a huge faileur from Fewell

  5. Little side note: Note the opposing backs listed. LeSean McCoy aside, I’d classify the rest of that list as “power backs.”

    1. willthomas10491 says:

      not sure if Doug Martin would qualify as a power back

      1. To look at him, you wouldn’t think so, because he’s short. He’s a lot like MJD. Martin is 5’9, 215. MJD is 5’7, 210. Similar styles.

        Martin is tied with AP for the league lead in broken tackles, with 47, per PFF.

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