Rain? Mud? Sloppy field? Bring it on, says Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
While much ado has been made about the less-than-ideal weather forecast for Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Giants at Candlestick Park, Bradshaw knows that bad weather and a sloppy field will put the spotlight on the Giants' running attack. And that's just fine with him.
"If it's a rain game, hopefully we run the ball more," he said Friday after practicing for the first time this week because of the cracked bone in his right foot, an injury he has battled much of the season. "It's dig our cleats in and keep digging."
For the Giants, the ability to move the ball on the ground against the 49ers' top-ranked rushing defense could be the difference between a nice postseason run and a trip to the Super Bowl. It was sunny and almost 60 degrees when the Giants last played at Candlestick Park, a 27-20 loss on Nov. 13. The Giants struggled to move the ball on the ground in that game, gaining 93 yards on 29 carries, with Brandon Jacobs leading the way with 55 on 18 carries.
Bradshaw, who missed that game because of the foot injury, is looking forward to facing the 49ers' defense. His performance has been a big reason the Giants' ground attack has stepped it up recently, improving from an average of 89.2 yards a game in the regular season to 133.5 in the playoffs. Bradshaw has carried the ball 26 times for 126 yards (4.8 yards per carry) in two postseason games. He's also caught eight passes for 43 yards.
"Ahmad has done a great job of catching little passes and getting yardage, getting big plays," Eli Manning said. "He's one of those players who you just want to create touches for, whether it's in the run game or screens, little check-downs where good things seem to happen. He makes guys miss. If you can get the ball in his hands, usually good things happen."
Bradshaw said he has a lot of respect for the 49ers' defense, which allowed only 77.2 rushing yards per game in the regular season. But he also has a lot of respect for the way his team plans to handle it.
Said Bradshaw: "They're a great defense. We have to stick to our game plan; we have got a lot to handle linebackers-wise. They have great linebackers. They have a great [secondary]. All I can do is play my game. We've got a great plan going into the game, and I think we'll be fine."
Regardless of the weather.