Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big Blue's O-Line Blocks out Errors

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big Blue's O-Line Blocks out Errors

Article excerpt

The images flashed before them as they studied the game film, showing play after play when the Giants' offensive line opened gaping holes.

Brandon Jacobs darting through the Falcons' defense for 34 yards as Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie and Kevin Boothe obliterated Atlanta's left side. Ahmad Bradshaw bursting through another opening for 30 yards as McKenzie, Snee and David Baas cleared his path.

But the mood among linemen Monday was anything but jubilant.

"It wasn't [good]," Boothe said. "We saw things that we could improve on. Things are never as good as they seem."

But the line appeared dominant last weekend when the Giants bulldozed the Falcons, 24-2, and rushed for a season-best 172 yards - - 50 more than their previous season high. The Giants (10-7) will need another strong showing Sunday when they face the Packers (15- 1) in their NFC divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field.

The Giants have rushed for at least 100 yards in five of their past six games, offering a complement to Eli Manning and the NFL's fifth-ranked passing attack.

They hardly look like the team ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (89.2) and yards per carry (3.5).

"The game has changed [to pass first, run second]. But one thing that has not changed is if you win up front, you're going to win," said Bart Oates, a five-time Pro Bowl center with the Giants (1985- 93) and 49ers (1994-95).

Bradshaw saw the toll Boothe, Baas, Snee, McKenzie and left tackle David Diehl took on the Falcons' defense.

"They looked tired," said Bradshaw, who combined with Jacobs on Sunday for 155 yards. "So I just told our O-line to keep pushing the pedal ... It's confidence, man. We feel good about our running game."

However there's room for improvement. The Giants again needed more than a quarter to find their groove. A quick start could be vital against the Packers.

"We didn't start as fast as we needed to," Boothe said. …

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