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Are the Giants a run-first team now?

Giants running back Andre Brown (no. 35) takes

Giants running back Andre Brown (no. 35) takes a hand-off from quarterback Eli Manning against the Oakland Raiders. (Nov. 10, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Giants’ offense had more net rushing yards than passing yards in Sunday’s win over the Raiders, the first time that’s happened in almost three full seasons. Eli Manning said in his WFAN appearance Monday evening that was largely due to the Oakland defense, which was “stubborn” in keeping two safeties back.

“I was itching to throw the ball some more but they were staying back there,” he said.

But maybe it’s better that way? Maybe the Giants, despite having premier weapons in the passing game including Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle, are better off keeping the ball on the ground?

Tom Coughlin disputes that, even though the high-powered air attack has thus far fizzled.
“There’s going to be games where the passing game, the quarterback, the receivers, they’ll step up and have the production that you’re asking for going forward,” Coughlin said. “That’s just the way I believe.”

So, exactly how often do the Giants have more net rushing yards than passing yards? Well, in Manning’s career as a starter (which is 144 games, or the equivalent of nine full seasons) it’s happened 20 times. The most recent time was on Dec. 13, 2010 against the Vikings, a game you may remember for another anomaly: it was played in Detroit.

Here’s a look at the 20 games and the results in which the ground game was more effective than the passing game:

Date Opponent Result
11/28/04 Eagles L, 27-6
Raiders W, 30-21
12/17/05 Chiefs W, 27-17
10/30/05 Redskins W, 36-0
12/30/06 Redskins W, 34-28
12/24/06 Saints L, 30-7
11/12/06 Bears L, 38-20
10/15/06 Falcons W, 27-14
10/28/07 Dolphins W, 13-10
10/21/07 49ers W, 33-15
10/7/07 Jets W, 35-24
11/16/08 Ravens W, 30-10
11/9/08 Eagles W, 36-31
11/2/08 Cowboys W, 35-14
9/27/09 Bucs W, 24-0
12/13/10 Vikings W, 21-3
12/5/10 Redskins W, 31-7
10/17/10 Lions W, 28-20
10/3/10 Bears W, 17-3
11/10/13 Raiders W, 24-20

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