When Brandon Jacobs powered into the end zone for the first time in two years to pull the Giants within one point of the Broncos in the third quarter Sunday, the MetLife Stadium sound system blared the line "Back in the New York Groove" from his theme song. For a brief moment, it seemed the Giants had a chance to reclaim a vision of the Super Bowl team that Jacobs left as a free agent last season.
But the moment was short-lived as Denver pulled away to a resounding 41-23 win that left the Giants in an 0-2 hole. If the idea of re-signing Jacobs, a man without a team, was to rekindle the running game, the numbers were a disappointment.
The Giants had 23 yards rushing on 19 carries for a 1.2 average, and five of those carries resulted in a loss of 13 yards. Jacobs, who was on the kick coverage for the opening kickoff, had 5 yards on his first carry but totaled 4 yards in seven tries.
Known for his sometimes surly demeanor, Jacobs was a regular spin doctor, saying: "It's bad not winning, but what are you going to do? Get down on yourself? We've got to turn everything up a notch and stay positive. I'm ready to be a part of it. It could be worse for me as an individual. I'm happy to be in this locker room. We've got to get it going."
As usual, Jacobs wore his emotions on his huge biceps, pumping up the team in the pregame huddle and celebrating a score that cut the Broncos' lead to 17-16 with 3:08 left in the third quarter.
"It's emotional to be back," he said. "I'm a Giant again. Scoring a touchdown was very important, but it didn't mean nothing because we didn't win."
Assessing the failure of the running game against Denver, Jacobs said the Giants had a "closed playbook" because they were behind most of the game. But the blowout didn't occur until the final 18 minutes. Starting running back David Wilson atoned for his two fumbles in the opening loss in Dallas but still managed only 17 yards on seven carries, and Da'Rel Scott had just 2 yards on five runs.
"We've got to go to work and get the chemistry with the offensive line," Wilson said.
Asked if he got enough carries to get into a rhythm, the second-year player eluded that media tackle, saying: "I don't count carries. I just go out and do what I'm asked."
The Giants' running game certainly is a far cry from what it was in the past, with Jacobs teaming with Ahmad Bradshaw and D.J. Ware to provide a more than adequate complement to Eli Manning's passing. Jacobs agreed the previous Giants teams he was on had more of a run mentality.
"Absolutely," he said. "I wouldn't say it got away. When you get in certain situations, you have to throw. You have to stay in games to run . . . That's one thing I want to do, no question. If I can run over somebody to set the tone, that's what it is."