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Giants Run Game Continues to be “Counter” Productive

While none of us want to let our guard down after 13 or 14 brutal efforts on the ground by the Giants, it looks like they may have turned a corner. Last week was the peak for them so far this season with 172 “easy” rushing yards.  It sure made things look even easier in the passing game at times. 

Brandon Jacobs continues to be the hot back for the Giants.  A lot of his success has come by way of misdirections and counters. Bradshaw has had his share too. As you’ll see below, all of the plays looked at are run to the right. At Lambeau that area of the field belongs to Clay Matthews (who has become an excellent run defender). Maybe flip some of these to the left?

Q2 5:58 2nd and 11 ATL 49: B.Jacobs right end to ATL 15 for 34 yards (J.Sanders, D.Robinson)

The counter.  It’s simple: Snee (front side) and Boothe (back side) pull around the right side on this play, with everyone right of Boothe  (Ballard, McKenzie and Baas) blocking down to the left to compensate. The Giants offensive line, agile and undersized, are great at these types of plays because it plays to their strengths and masks their weakness in the run game. The same goes for Jacobs; it gets those wheels going and doesn’t give him a chance to dance at the line.  Picture perfect blocking (seriously, if you DVR’ed the game go watch this play again).

Q2 5:14 1st and 10 ATL 15  A.Bradshaw up the middle to ATL 6 for 9 yards (K.Biermann)

Same play with a few tweaks. Instead of a counter, this one is just a misdirection. Different formation; Ballard and Cruz’s bunched alignment has Atlanta thinking pass with only six in the box. The key here is Hynoski, who starts on the left side and pulls through the right side ahead of Bradshaw (who also started the play headed left). Bradshaw had the time to square up and cut his way for nine yards thanks to the “down” and “seal” blocking of the o-line. Even though Hynoski doesn’t really block anyone, the flow of the play allows a hefty hole to open up for Bradshaw.

Q4 11:26 1st and 10 ATL 37 B.Jacobs right tackle to ATL 28 for 9 yards (S.Adkins, J.Sanders)

The Giants ran the same play as the first one here, only it didn’t get blocked up as well.  No problem for Jacobs, as the counter call gave him time to get behind the flow of the play and explode through the hole for five and carry a few Falcons for the last four of this nine yard gain.

Q4 6:06 B.Jacobs right tackle to ATL 35 for 4 yards (S.Weatherspoon, C.Lofton).

Just like the 1st and the 3rd play we looked at, the Giants run Jacobs right on a counter, only we just get Boothe pulling around the right side. This is another great example of the beauty of Jacobs and the counter, as Jacobs’ momentum from the build-up of the counter allows him to gain four tough yards after being hit right at the line of scrimmage.

If the Giants run game continues to be effective then it’s possible we have yet to see the best of this offense. The Giants need to continue to take advantage of their strengths in the running game (the counters and misdirections) and maybe even feature a heavier dose of it this weekend in Green Bay.

Some other thoughts for Sunday…..

–Need to make sure that trips to the red zone end up in seven points, not three.  Field goals aren’t going to cut it in this one.

–Need to punish Rodgers….the way that they can. They need to make every opportunity they get to hit Rodgers (sack or not) count.  Make him feel it, even if that means a flag early. Let’s see the intensity we seem to always bring against Vick or Brady. We haven’t seen the Giants really BEAT UP Rodgers physically in the past. 

–Bump Finley- If the Giants are forced to play a linebacker on Finley (likely) then they better give him hell at the line. Don’t let him past five yards without a fight every time he is lined up next to the tackle.


–Follow the Chiefs…Attn Perry Fewell: the Chiefs played man defense on their eight third down stops in the week 15 win over Green Bay.  On most of them they showed blitz at the line and sent one man, IF THAT.