That isn’t to say we should expect 324 all purpose yards each week. Wilson’s record-setting day nearly single-handedly won the game for the Giants, but his numbers surprisingly weren’t that out of whack from what he’d done this season up to that point. Wilson finished the day with 13 carries for 100 yards (7.7 yards/carry), and 4 kickoff returns for 224 yards (56 yards/attempt), but those numbers are obviously skewed by one long touchdown run of 52 yards and a 97-yard touchdown return.
Taking away those two plays, Wilson still had a very efficient game both running and returning. Over the rest of the game, Wilson had 12 carries for 44 yards and a mediocre-to-decent 3.7-yard average. Aside from that carry, he’s averaging 3.9-yards per carry on the year. As for special teams, Wilson had returns of 58, 52 and 20 yards besides the big 97-yarder, which continues what has been an extremely impressive season for him returning kicks. For much of the season, his teammates treated a touchdown return for Wilson as an inevitability, and Sunday we saw why.
What makes Wilson such a great weapon is his aggressiveness and his breakaway speed. Despite his struggles through the first half of the season, he is going to be an important piece of the puzzle going forward with Brown unlikely to play another game this year. Wilson doesn’t always need to be as spectacular as he was on Sunday, but if he can keep up with his averages he’ll justify the first-round pick the Giants spent on him back in April. And if he breaks a few long touchdowns along the way, even better.
A few other things I noted from Sunday’s game:
- Hey Ravens and Bengals, WHAT THE HELL?!? Through 3+ quarters, it looked like both teams were going to give the Giants a little breathing room in the division by beating the Redskins and Cowboys, but both teams eventually lost on last-second field goal tries. Although knowing the Giants, the added cushion probably would have led to a loss to the Saints, so I guess it’s ok.
- Wilson was the most dazzling, but Antrel Rolle may have had the better game. After publicly calling out his teammates prior to the game, Rolle forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, tipped an eventual interception and made a huge tackle on a big 3rd-and-short. Woof.
- Ahmad Bradshaw hurt his knee in the first half and spent most of the game on the sideline. Despite Wilson’s big game, losing Bradshaw for any amount of time would be devastating. Not a lot of teams can withstand injuries to their top two running backs. Get well soon Ahmad.
- Eli Manning had two “bad eli” interceptions, one of which was returned for a long touchdown. The Giants opened the game with 4 drives starting in Saints territory, which resulted in 7 points for the Giants and 7 points for the Saints. That’s not good. But the offense picked it up in the second half with two touchdowns each in the 3rd and 4th quarters. That’s not bad.
Next week bring’s the Giants’ third and final “revenge game” of the season, as we go to Atlanta to play the team that was the first stepping-stone to the 2011 super bowl. Perhaps the Falcons have learned from the 49ers’ and Packers’ mistakes, because I haven’t heard nearly as much chatter from them. Or maybe it has something to do with them losing to the 4-9 Panthers this week. In any event, it should be another good one, and an important one as the Giants look to maintain their division lead. See you in Atlanta.