High-jumping Andre Brown is right at home in the end zone
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Most call the area inside the 20-yard line the red zone. Tom Coughlin prefers to call it the green zone. But even further inside that area lies another color-coded sliver of field that stretches from the goal line to the 2 and extends, well, upwards.
Call it the Brown zone. The Andre Brown zone.
Sometimes he runs around the defenses to the corner, sometimes he pushes through them. But then there are times, such as late in the Bengals game two weeks ago or in the fourth quarter against the Panthers in September, that he takes to the air and flies into the end zone.
Brown used to play a game with his younger brother called "Over the Top." They would spread two sleeping bags on their mom's bed, each a different color, and take turns jumping over each other and trying to land on the far color. Sometimes even the cousins would get involved.
These days, Brown doesn't play that game with his family. He plays it with the Giants.
"If a hole opens up, I can run right through it," Brown said Wednesday of his decision to stick to the ground or leave it behind. "If it's cluttered up, I just jump right over it."
When he scored against the Bengals, Brown took off from outside the 3 and landed a good two yards inside the end zone. That's some serious hang time.
"I glide a little bit," he said with feigned modesty. "When I'm up, I know I'm up, and all I'm starting to worry about is the landing."
That most recent landing came on the back of guard Kevin Boothe.
"I saw Boothe and I was like, 'Uh-oh,' " Brown said. "When I was up, I looked down and I was like, 'My bad, I can't control that.' I landed right on his butt."
"Yeah," Boothe said. "I felt that."
Brown isn't the only back who likes to dive into the end zone. On the 2-yard run against the Bengals, fullback Henry Hynoski also flew the friendly skies, soaring above the offensive line to block linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
"It was pretty cool because I always wanted to do that but never had the opportunity," Hynoski said. "We watched it on film and were like, 'Man, that was one of the coolest plays I've ever seen.' It was like something you'd see in a movie . . . We liked that one a lot."
Coughlin doesn't mind it, either. "If it's available," he said of Brown's leaps of faith, "I'm all for it."
Brown has rushed 60 times for 321 yards this season, with most of those carries coming in Weeks 2 and 3 of the season when Ahmad Bradshaw was injured. His seven touchdowns represent 12 percent of his carries but only 3 percent of his yardage.
He's become a specialist for the Giants at getting into the end zone from close range. That opposing teams don't know whether he'll go around them, through them or over them makes him even more dangerous.
"He kind of keeps defenses guessing," Boothe said. "They don't know what he'll do once he gets to the goal line. It helps us out a lot . . . As long as he gets in the end zone, however he does it, I'm all for it."
Going over the top, when it's there, is the preferred method.
"The coolest thing is you completely run somebody over, like Ahmad did against the Jets last year," Hynoski said, ranking the best ways for a running back to score. "But next to that, jumping over is absolutely the best."
That goes for the NFL. Or your mom's bed while playing with your brother.