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Giants offense gets a "passing" grade

Victor Cruz outruns Terence Newman for a first

Victor Cruz outruns Terence Newman for a first quarter touchdown. (Jan. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

Let’s crunch some final offensive numbers:

Eli Manning set Giants team records in attempts (589), completions (359) and yards (4,933). His 29 touchdown passes were the second-highest total of his career (he had 31 last year) and his 16 interceptions were nine fewer than he threw in 2010. Manning finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards behind Drew Brees (5,476), Tom Brady (5,235) and Matthew Stafford (5,038).

Victor Cruz finished with a franchise-record 1,536 yards – 193 more than Amani Toomer’s former team record – and a team-high nine touchdown receptions. Cruz’s 82 catches tie him with Toomer (2002) for second on the Giants single-season list behind Steve Smith’s 107 in 2009. Cruz finished third in the NFL in receiving yards, trailing Calvin Johnson (1,681) and only 33 yards behind Wes Welker (1,569). Don’t forget, Cruz was a nobody with only two receptions for 29 yards in the first two games.

Cruz also finished with an average of 18.7 yards per receptions, second-highest in the NFL among receivers with 40 or more catches. Malcolm Floyd averaged 19.9 in his 43 catches. Jordy Nelson was at 18.6.

The Giants had 67 passing plays of 20 or more yards. Only the Saints (69), Chargers (69), Packers (70) and Patriots (72) had more. But in there were 18 passing plays of 40 or more yards. No team in the NFL had more. The Lions and Packers each had 16.

Of course all of that passing comes at a price to the rushing game. The Giants finished the season with an NFL-low 1,427 rushing yards (89.2 a game). Their 3.5 yards per carry was also the worst in the NFL and they had only four rushes of 20 or more yards all season. You guessed it, no one had fewer than that. They were one of six teams without a run of 40 yards or more,. Some of those are non-playoff teams like the Chiefs, Redskins and Jets. But the Saints and Patriots are remarkably in that group as well.

One bright note: the Giants scored 17 rushing touchdowns, which was the sixth most in the league. So while they weren’t explosive, they were effective.

Oh, and by the way – the Giants are just the second team since 1990 (when a second wild card team was added in each conference) to make the playoffs with the league’s fewest rushing yards. The others were the 2008 Arizona Cardinals and the 2009 Indianapolis Colts. Both of those teams reached the Super Bowl. But both of them lost it.
 

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