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Petrus' pounding propels running game

Running back Brandon Jacobs of the New York

Running back Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants leaps over safety Gerald Sensabaugh of the Dallas Cowboys. (Dec. 11, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

In his last two games, Brandon Jacobs has run for 160 yards on 27 carries. That’s a 5.9 yards per carry clip. He’s also accounted for five of his nine runs of 10 yards or more this season during this two-game span. So what gives? It’s the same Jacobs, right?

Maybe some of it has to do with the addition of Mitch Petrus at guard. With him on the left side sandwiched between David Diehl at tackle and Kevin Boothe at center – the alignment the Giants have used the last two games – they team has what could be its most powerful configuration.

Petrus takes none of the credit.

“I’m just trying to do my part and make sure I block the right guy,” he said after the game. “Anything I can do to help the team, but I won’t take credit for that. All of us have to work together for us to be successful.”

That’s what Boothe said today, noting the newfound “consistency” in the run blocking. But the addition of the hard-pounding Petrus certainly could give opposing defenses a headache. It did last year for the Giants defense.

“He’s a string, road-grader type offensive lineman,” defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “I remember last season when I used to go against him on the scout team and I would have a headache after every practice because he was just such a physical player. I knew that once he got an opportunity he would be successful. I’m happy for our football team and I’m happy for him personally.”

Asked if there is any correlation between Petrus getting on the field and the re-emergence of the Giants’ physical running game, Canty said: “Absolutely.”

His ability to get out in space is also valuable. He did a tremendous job of pulling to the right and blocking in front of D.J. Ware on the two-point conversion. Fellow lineman Jim Cordle called that a “beast mode” block. It was the second straight week Petrus shined on a two-point conversion.

Of course, there are still times when Petrus shows some inexperience. Like when the team was driving for the first of their two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter yesterday.

“I went to go congratulate Jake (Ballard) after one catch and everybody was like ‘You have to get back on the line here, we’re in no huddle,’” Petrus said.

Chances are he’ll be back on the line and he could wind up staying there for a while.

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