Andre Brown's big debut: 30 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown
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And to think people believed that Giants coach Tom Coughlin was kidding when he said running back Andre Brown might get 40 carries in his first game back from a broken leg.
After the Giants' 24-20 win over the Raiders Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Coughlin offered a facetious apology for "misleading" the media by handing the ball to Brown only 30 times.
It sounded as if even Brown was surprised by his workload, but he made the most of it, rushing for 115 yards and powering over for a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Giants a 21-20 lead. His 17-yard run to the Raiders' 4-yard line in the fourth quarter set up a 23-yard field goal by Josh Brown.
Brown said his 30 carries "felt like 50. There were a couple times where I tapped myself and got out of there . . . I didn't expect that many carries, but when you're down there running the ball like we did, I guess you stay on track. We just kept it rolling."
One reason the Giants' offense has struggled this season is an inability to run the ball, and certainly the running back ranks are thin. David Wilson recently went on injured reserve and Brandon Jacobs was ruled out of the Raiders game. But the Giants responded to Brown's workhorse effort on a windy day that made passing tough for Eli Manning.
"The Raiders even knew what was coming at times, and it was still hard for them to stop him," tackle Will Beatty said. "Andre gives you options. On third-and-short, you don't always have to throw. At the goal line, we can run it in rather than pass it. We're making sure our coaches feel we're out there running the ball and we can keep pounding it."
Members of the Giants' defense were equally appreciative of Brown's presence. "If we have our running back healthy, not just Brown but Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs, that's hard to stop," defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. "There's few teams in the league that can defend that type of a running attack. To see 'Dre come back, have over 100 yards, to battle through the way he did, it's good. It's one of those uplifting stories."
Given that Brown's workload represented a career high for carries, there might be good reason to wonder how he'll bounce back next Sunday against the Packers, but he doesn't share that concern.
"No," he said. "Football, let's go. Cold tub it up, little salt and let's ride."