Despite The Return Of The Running Game, Giants Offense Is Officially DOA
We all thought that once the running game was restored and once the New York Giants could get back to running the football like we all know the New York Giants are capable of, then the offense would spring to life. We all figured that Andre Brown's return would be that adrenaline shot to the heart that this sputtering offense was missing, that the presence of a legitimate back carrying the workload could take some of the pressure off of Eli Manning and help open up some of those passing lanes.
On Sunday, Brown, along with Brandon Jacobs and FB John Conner, did just about everything they could do for the offense, to the tune of 202 total yards on the ground -- the first time the team cracked the 200-yard rushing mark since Week 5 of last season against Cleveland. Brown (21 carries, 127 yards) and Jacobs (9 carries, 75 yards) looked like they were running downhill all afternoon, bursting through gaping holes in the line opened up by Conner, holes that seemed big enough to drive the team bus through.
Still, it wasn't enough to break the offense out of its million-year slumber. The game was littered with wasted opportunities, wide receivers running the wrong routes, overthrown passes, underthrown passes and everything in between. At the end of the day, it wasn't the run game that had failed the Giants, but rather the two things that Giants fans have come to rely on the most during the last few years -- Manning and the defense.
Ideally, you're supposed to win games in the NFL when you rush for 202 yards as a team. What Sunday's loss to Dallas ultimately taught us was that the offense is far more dysfunctional than we could have imagined and that Manning is in the midst of a funk, the likes of which we haven't seen since the 2007 season. The run game was not what was ailing the offense and the poor defensive play had nothing to do with it either. The defense has also picked up its play substantially in the past few weeks, but the offense ... still lifeless.
The Dallas Cowboys are the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to pass defense right now. They're ranked last in total defense and were only a few games removed from giving up numbers of historic proportions to the New Orleans Saints, including 40 first downs. Yet, Manning managed a scant 174 yards through the air on Sunday, Victor Cruz was rendered ineffective and the offense stalled on not one, but two first-half drives inside the Dallas 10 yard line that would have undoubtedly won the game for the Giants if they would have scored a touchdown on either one of those drives.
The Giants need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their entire offensive scheme, from the play selection (especially the red zone playcalling) down to the execution. One more close-up camera shot of Manning's exasperated facial expressions after another one of his passes sails 45 yards past Rueben Randle is going to be one too many.