On Sunday the Giants fell to the Redskins 20-14, in a game that the Giants could have used to distance themselves from the rest of the pack in the NFC East. They are now tied at 5-6 with the Redskins for first place, with the Eagles and Cowboys trailing them by one game and two games respectively.
A lot of the Giants struggles can probably be credited to the fact that the Giants offense has become very one-dimensional. For the season they are only averaging 89 yards per game on the ground, but it has been even worse in the last couple of weeks. They have only reached 90 yards on the ground once in the last five weeks, and have only gotten into the end zone once over that span. This puts a lot of pressure on Eli Manning and the rest of the passing attack to pick up the slack for the rushing offense. On Sunday, the longest run was for eight yards., and the 33 yards was their lowest total since only rushing for 25 yards against the Seattle Seahawks back in December of 2013.
Although the rushing attack has its issues, and they have been pretty poor for the entirety of the season, injuries surely have an impact. The injuries across the offensive line have contributed to the running game issues. Four of their projected starters at the beginning of the season were not along the front line this weekend with Will Beatty, Weston Richburg, Justin Pugh, and Geoff Schwartz all out with injuries. Schwartz suffered a fractured leg in the first quarter on Sunday and it looks like he will be out for the rest of the year. Richburg and Pugh are hoping to be back for next week’s game, while Beatty has already been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
The Giants haven’t found a very successful combination at the running back position either. They have been using four backs, but none of which have really made a huge impression. None of the four backs that they use have more than one rushing touchdown on the year, and Rashad Jennings leads the way in rush yards per game, but only at 37.9 yards per game.
Even if Pugh and Richburg return along the interior of the offensive line they likely will have a tough time getting the run game back on track next weekend when they play the New York Jets. The Jets are best in the league on the rush defense only allowing 928 yards on the season and 84.4 yards per game. Nonetheless, they need to make a concerted effort to revitalize the rushing attack to allow for a more balanced and more successful offense.