Bradshaw, Giants run game fail to catch fire

Andre Brown celebrates his rushing TD, one of the few highlights for the Giants' ground attack. William Perlman/The Star-Ledger/US PRESSWIRE

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A terse Ahmad Bradshaw quickly prepared to leave MetLife Stadium after a 24-20 loss to the Steelers after a week that was anything but normal, but he wouldn’t take the easy out. Hurricane Sandy, he said, had nothing to do with the Giants struggles in the running game or anywhere else, and the problem has been going on for a while.

“It wasn’t just today,” Bradshaw said. “It’s been the last couple weeks and we’re going to find a way to get something done.”

Bradshaw had 15 carries for 48 yards and backup Andre Brown added seven carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. For the mathematically challenged, that's a total of 68 yards for the rushing game.

So what is the issue?

“We don’t know yet,” Bradshaw said. “That’s what practicing all week does, helping us prepare for the next team and then get better and find our issues.”

Kicker Lawrence Tynes pinpointed the last complete game the Giants played to Week 6.

“Probably since that San Francisco game when we had a good all three phases game,” Tynes said. “We really haven’t duplicated that. We’ve played in spurts, won some close games but we have not really dominated all three phases probably since San Fran.”

For offensive lineman David Diehl, the loss could be hung on the inability of the Giants to get the running game going, especially when Bradshaw has had several 100-plus yard rushing games, and Brown had 113 yards against Carolina.

“As an offense, you’ve got to abe able to establish the rushing game to be able to keep your defense fresh and keep that team off the field,” Diehl said.

For Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, stopping the Giants run was the first thing he mentioned when asked about the keys to the gameplan against New York.

“Our front did a good job of stopping the run,” Woodley said. “Our secondary did a great job of getting interceptions, knocking down passes, and getting us enough time to get to the quarterback to put some pressure on him.”

That’s not the way the Giants want to be approached by NFL opponents. If the running game becomes a consistent weakness, that’s something sure to be exploited in the second half of the season.

“Especially when you’re down in the red zone you have to score touchdowns and not settle for field goals against good football teams,” Diehl said. “Because when you’re up against good teams it comes down to the wire like this and nobody likes to be on this side of it.”