So the Giants almost got caught looking past the woeful Bears before hanging on for a 22-16 victory Sunday, right? Understandable. Forgivable. It must have been hard to get up for a team that came in 2-7.
Shhhh. Don’t say that to Giants running back Rashad Jennings.
And definitely don’t ask him if he agrees.
“I think that’s the wrong question,” Jennings said after carrying the ball 21 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. “I don’t care what the record is. You know, every NFL team can win out here. That’s disrespectful to even hear. That’s disrespectful to say. Any team can beat you any Sunday. Don’t nobody prepare like somebody’s just going to maul somebody. That’s disrespectful. You’re going to tell me they’re not NFL players over there?”
Definitely no follow-up question about how the Giants feel about next Sunday’s opponent — the 0-11 Cleveland Browns. The Giants will go in seeking their sixth straight win.
“The question is how you prepare for somebody every Sunday,” Jennings said. “You work your tail off, you understand how you’re going to attack them and you find ways to win. Get ugly yards, [be] efficient in the pass game, protect your quarterback, defense does what they do, special teams . . . That’s a recipe. I don’t care who we’re playing.”
Against the Bears, Jennings logged his most carries and second-highest yardage total of the season. He had 87 yards on 15 carries in last week’s 21-20 win over the Bengals. That broke a string of four straight dismal games in which he had a total of 93 yards, or 23.25 per game.
On Sunday, Jennings had 34 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run in the first half, which ended with the Giants trailing 16-9. He picked it up with 51 yards after intermission as the Giants’ offense did just enough to support a dominant second-half defense.
“I think we were able to play in front of the chains [in the second half],” Jennings said. “In the first half, we got caught up in having some second-and-really-long plays. If you stay ahead of the sticks, eliminate the negative plays, you put yourself in a good position.”
Jennings wasn’t thrilled with the Giants’ inability to close out the game on offense, however. Nursing the six-point lead they took in the third quarter, the Giants had only one first down in the fourth, which left it to the defense to cement the victory.
“We stalled out a couple of times and went three-and-out when it was crucial,” Jennings said. “But our defense was able to adjust and bail us out.”
Don’t get the impression Jennings wasn’t happy with the victory and his role in it. He was.
“It feels good to win. You’re going to see me smile,” he said before pausing to smile. “But it’s short-lived because every single week you’ve got a team that’s trying to beat you.”
Next week, that team is Cleveland. Tip: Don’t ask Jennings if he thinks it’s going to be an easy win for the Giants. Or if you do, get ready to duck.
Rashad Jennings had a season high for all-purpose yards with 129 on Sunday:
Long Gain 21
Long Gain 16