Monday night’s 40-23 loss to the Indianapolis Colts wasn’t pretty unless you were insane enough to start Corey Washington on your fantasy team (or less insane and went with Odell Beckham Jr.).
If you started Andre Williams, you were probably pulling your hair out. Williams had more yards receiving on one catch (24) than he did on 12 runs (22 yards). He also fumbled, but the Giants were able to recover and avoid a complete disaster.
But it wasn’t just Williams who had a poor day on the ground, it was the entire Giants team, whose leading rusher, the second-year man Michael Cox rushed twice for 27 yards. Peyton Hillis had four rushes for 20 yards, but 16 of them came all on one carry.
Once teams figured out Williams, big numbers in the rushing game have been hard to come by with Rashad Jennings on the sideline, as he reportedly will be when the Giants take on the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday. While those big numbers are usually the result of the team winning, rather than the cause, there is a need for some kind of balance to the offense. Eli Manning is having a fine season, but he can’t do it all by himself.
At this point, you can’t blame the offensive line for the Giants ineffectiveness on the ground. Football Outsiders ranks the Giants o-line 16th out of the 32 teams, as middle-of-the-road as you can get.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that all of Big Blue’s options on the ground outside of Rashad Jennings just aren’t that good. You can mask that when those guys are buried down in the depth chart, but when thrust into the spotlight, they just can’t deliver, and that’s what they’ve shown the past few weeks.
It’s not going to be easy against the defending Super Bowl champions, despite their tumultuous season. They own the third-best rushing defense and fifth-best overall defense in the NFL this season.
At this point, the only things that could lead to the Giants having any kind of success on the ground this week would be either 1. Jennings returning fully healthy (not happening) or 2. sheer dumb luck. In the absence of those two things, we’re probably going to see Manning throwing against the Legion of Boom quite a bit. That’s a scary proposition.