Commentary

For Jacobs, less was more vs. Skins

Giants' big back beams after season-high 103 yards on eight carries vs. Washington

Updated: December 6, 2010, 9:59 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- On the second play of the game, Brandon Jacobs took a handoff, dodged one tackler, avoided another and rumbled 39 yards down the left side for a monster gain.

Five plays later, Jacobs took another handoff, made a cutback and waltzed into the end zone for the Giants' first touchdown on an opening drive this season.

It became very apparent early on that the dysfunctional Washington Redskins wanted no part of the Big Fella on a frigid day.

In his second game this season as the starter, Jacobs set a bruising tone as he rushed for a season-high 103 yards and two touchdowns to ignite the Giants to a 31-7 rout of the lifeless Redskins.

It felt like 2007 and 2008 all over again as Jacobs was running all over helpless defenders, making the Redskins look like burgundy and gold rag dolls. All that was missing was LaRon Landry, who was inactive, getting flattened by Jacobs like road kill, and a steady diet of carries for the 6-foot-4 monster.

Jacobs reached the century mark for the first time this season on a meager eight carries as the Giants gave Ahmad Bradshaw the bulk of the load. Jacobs got just two totes in the second half, while Bradshaw grinded out his 97 yards on 25 attempts.

While it was expected that Bradshaw would still be given a ton of carries, it would have been easy for Jacobs to be a bit miffed with the surprising lack of work in the second half despite gaining 74 yards in the first half.

Jacobs scored his second touchdown on a 28-yard run in the third quarter, making two more Redskins miss his big body.

And that was his second and final carry of the second half with 6:36 left to play in the third quarter.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Jacobs
Jim O'Connor/US PresswireBrandon Jacobs ran around, over and through the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Tom Coughlin offered no reason for Jacobs being relegated to cheerleading duty on the sideline.

"No," Coughlin responded when asked if there was anything wrong with Jacobs.

When asked if there was a strategic reason for using Bradshaw for the majority of the second half, Coughlin replied, "Not really."

Confused? It's easy to understand how Jacobs might have felt when the season started and he was the backup, getting few carries and feeling ready to explode with frustration after being the starter until this year.

During the preseason and early in the season, Jacobs said he never got any clarification about his diminished role as Bradshaw's backup. The emotional running back then took out his anger on the media and his helmet on the sideline in Indianapolis in the second week of the season.

But after a meeting with Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese, Jacobs has been a gentle Giant.

Even on a day when he could have rushed for 200 yards if given 10 more carries, Jacobs pronounced himself as happy as he ever has been in Blue.

"I'm just doing what I'm asked now," Jacobs said. "I think I am having more fun this year than I had in 2007 when we won the Super Bowl.

"Everything is set in stone now," he continued. "We are toward the end of the season, guys are where they are going to be, no one is keeping secrets, we are playing football."

Sitting near the entrance of the locker room, Reese was told that Jacobs said he is having more fun than when the Giants won it all.

"It's Brandon, who knows what Brandon is talking about," Reese said with a smile. "I am not sure what he means by that.

"Brandon, he likes to talk a lot, it is not a big deal, we don't pay that much attention to him, us who are here a lot," Reese continued. "I always tell him, Brandon, less is more. He is an emotional kid."

On Sunday, less was a lot more for Jacobs, who averaged 12.9 yards per carry. He softened the Redskins' defense while Bradshaw pounded them some more. And despite the huge disparity in carries, Jacobs was thrilled for Bradshaw, who reached 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career.

When Jacobs was installed as the starter two games ago after Bradshaw couldn't stop fumbling, Jacobs insisted the move was only temporary and that the Giants needed Bradshaw. He seemed more concerned about Bradshaw's mental state than his own personal gain and Bradshaw seemed thankful on Sunday.

"To have 1,000 yards in the NFL, that is a big dream to me," Bradshaw said.

On Sunday, Jacobs was a dream for Coughlin. He rushed for more than 100 yards, scored twice and did it all on eight carries and didn't even wonder why he didn't receive more carries. He helped the Giants win their second straight game with wide receivers Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks sidelined and he did it with humility.

Perhaps the only thing Coughlin would have objected to was Jacobs putting on a bright T-shirt that read "Free Plaxico" after the game.

"With all of the stuff happening earlier, the starting issue was never an issue to me," Jacobs said. "I didn't really care about that. Now everything I have [is] what I asked for. Now it is time to play football. This is all over with now and we are winning games.

"I let go of it all. I just want to win."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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