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Inside the Numbers: Giants run defense


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** If it seems as if the Giants have played one of the NFL's best running backs every week, it's because that's exactly what they've done.

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After Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks leave MetLife Stadium on Sunday, the Giants will have faced nine of the NFL's top 10 rushers in this week's official statistics. The exception is San Francisco's Frank Gore, who is at No. 7. And next week, they are scheduled to face Detroit's Reggie Bush, who is currently 11th in the league in rushing yardage.

The Giants' defense has performed well against the NFL's best backs. When the Chargers' Ryan Mathews ran for 103 yards on Sunday in San Diego, he became the only one of the group to exceed 100 yards vs. the Giants. And Mathews needed 29 carries to accomplish the feat, leaving him with a 3.6-yard average that was in line with the other backs that have faced the Giants.

Mathews was only the second back to run for more than 100 yards vs. the Giants this season. Carolina's DeAngelo Williams rushed for 120 yards and a 5.2-yard average on Sept. 22 in Charlotte. Williams is currently tied with Cincinnati's BenJarvus Green-Ellis in 18th place on the league's rushing list.

What follows is a list of the NFL's leading rushers (in order of their ranking). The first two columns show their average performance in games against teams other than the Giants. The next two columns show how they fared vs. the Giants.

Season (non-Giants games) vs. Giants
Name Team Per Game Per Carry Yards Avg.
LeSean McCoy Philadelphia 110.1 5.4 46 2.3 (1)
48 3.2 (2)
Adrian Peterson Minnesota 99.4 4.7 28 2.2
Jamaal Charles Kansas City 91.4 5.0 65 3.6
Matt Forte Chicago 83.8 4.7 67 3.5
Marshawn Lynch Seattle 80.2 4.3 Sunday, 12/15
Alfred Morris Washington 83.4 4.8 26 2.4
Frank Gore San Francisco 71.6 4.2 NA NA
Knowshon Moreno Denver 68.9 4.1 93 7.2
Eddie Lacy Green Bay 78.2 4 27 1.9
Ryan Mathews San Diego 63.5 4.3l 103 3.6
Reggie Bush Detroit 77.6 4.4 Sunday, 12/22

  • The Giants have faced eight of the NFL's top 11 rushes and only Moreno exceeded his per-game and per-carry averages against them.
  • Mathews exceeded his per-game average, but had a lower per-carry average.

Five of the eight backs rushed for touchdowns against the Giants: Moreno (runs of 20 and 25 yards), McCoy (one yard), Lacy (four yards), Morris (one yard) and Mathews (one yard).

  • Dallas' DeMarco Murray, who is No. 16 on the league's rushing list, twice rushed for 86 yards against the Giants.
  • Three quarterbacks led their teams in rushing this season vs. the Giants: Philadelphia's Michael Vick with 79 yards on Oct. 6, Oakland's Terrelle Pryor with 48 yards on Nov. 10 and Washington's Robert Griffin III with 88 yards on Dec. 1.
  • The Giants' run defense is ranked 11th in the NFL, allowing 105.4 yards a game.
  • Justin Tuck has 6.0 sacks in the Giants last two games (4.0 at Washington, 2.0 at San Diego). That is the highest two-game total by a Giants defender since Osi Umenyiora had 7.0 on Sept. 30-Oct. 7, 2007 (team record 6.0 vs. Philadelphia, 1.0 vs. the Jets).
  • Eli Manning has moved into the NFL's top 20 in career passing yards. Manning's 259 yards against the Chargers increased his career total to 34,781. That moved him past Matt Hasselbeck (34,622) and Jim Hart (34,665) and into 20th place on league's career list.
  • The first of Manning's two interceptions in San Diego was deflected before Donald Butler secured the ball and returned it 30 yards. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was Manning's 41st interception that was tipped before being picked off. That's the highest such total in the NFL during his 10 seasons in the league. The runner-up is Drew Brees with 35 deflected interceptions.
  • Hakeem Nicks' five catches increased his career total to 304. He is the 10th player to catch 300 passes in a Giants uniform. Nicks passes Kyle Rote (300) to move into ninth place on the Giants' career list.
  • Nicks had five receptions for 135 yards, a 27.0-yard average. That was the highest average for a Giants receiver with at least five catches since Jan. 1, 2012, when Victor Cruz had six receptions for 178 yards, a 29.7-yard average against Dallas.
  • This season, Nicks has caught 49 passes for 789 yards, but has not scored a touchdown. Amani Toomer holds the Giants' record for a wide receiver with 51 receptions without a touchdown in 2004. Although Nicks could exceed that total this week, he would not own the record unless he goes the entire season without a touchdown reception. The team record of 72 catches without a score was set by running back Tiki Barber in 2001. The NFL record of 85 catches without a touchdown was set by Tampa Bay running back James Wilder in 1984. The league mark for wide receivers was set way back in 1961 by Baltimore's Raymond Berry, with 75.
  • Nicks' 49 receptions without a touchdown are the most in the NFL this season. Dallas running back DeMarco Murray is second with 41.
  • Toomer holds the Giants record of 747 receiving yards in a season without a touchdown, a mark also set in 2004. Although Nicks has 789 yards, he will become the record-holder only if he does not catch a touchdown pass in the final three games. The NFL record of 963 was set by the Jets' Al Toon in 1991.
  • Nicks last scored a touchdown on Dec. 9, 2012 vs. New Orleans. Cruz scored most recently at Kansas City on Sept. 29.
  • Cruz's five catches on Sunday increased his career total to 239, tying him with Del Shofner for 16th place on the Giants' career list.
  • San Diego's Philip Rivers completed 75 percent of his passes (21-for-28) one week after Washington's Robert Griffin III did the same (24-for-32). This is the first time starting quarterbacks have completed such a high percentage of their passes in consecutive games against the Giants since Dec. 27, 2009 and Jan. 3, 2010, when Carolina's Matt Moore hit 15 of 20 throws (75 percent) and Minnesota's Brett Favre completed 25 of 31 (80.6 percent).
  • The Giants have rushed for at least 100 yards in only three of 13 games this season. Even if they finish the season with three consecutive 100-yard games, it will be their lowest total under Coughlin. The previous low was eight 100-yard games in 2011. Last year, the Giants rushed for at least 100 yards in nine games. Opposing teams have hit the century mark nine times in 13 games.
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