The New York Giants, without 3 of their starters, were able to cruise to a 36-7 victory in Thursday night's game against the Carolina Panthers. The offense didn't skip a beat and were able to gain 405 total yards on the day. Propelled by the offensive line, the Giants have accumulated over 1000 total yards on offense over the last two games. The Giants' offensive line, which has had at least two linemen selected to the Pro Bowl in three out of the last four seasons, allowed one sack and two hits on quarterback Eli Manning (Ole Miss) who was able to throw for 288 yards and zero interceptions. Sunday's solid performance establishes the New York Giants offensive line as a contender for the fourth annual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.
The Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award recognizes the backbone of every NFL team…the offensive line. John Madden, for whom the Award is named, has been praising these unsung heroes for decades and serves as the ambassador for this unique Award, honoring the best Offensive Line in the National Football League. The Award serves to celebrate the loyal teammates in the trenches that most consistently provide the time and protection that is critical to their teammates' and overall team's success.
"It's tough to be fresh after coming off of a short week, but the Giants offensive line looked tough and dominant," said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach John Madden.
The 2012 Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award winner will be announced during the week of Super Bowl XLVII, which will be played on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans. Past Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award recipients include the New Orleans Saints (2009, 2011) and the New England Patriots (2010).
The defending Super Bowl Champions were able to dictate the flow of the game by winning the time of possession battle (+12 minutes) against the Panthers. The Giants saw contribution from two players that were able to take advantage of their starting opportunity against the Panthers. Getting his first career start at running back, Andre Brown (North Carolina State) rushed for a career high 113 yards and two touchdowns. Also in his first start, wide receiver Ramses Barden (Cal Poly-S.L.O) was able to catch nine passes for a career high 138 yards. The offensive line also provided the protection for Eli Manning (Ole Miss) to throw for 288 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions with a 77% completion rate. The offensive line had only 2 penalties during the game. Starting in the trenches on Thursday for the Giants were tackles Will Betty (Connecticut) and Sean Locklear (NC State); guards Kevin Boothe (Cornell) and Chris Snee (Boston College); and center David Baas (Michigan). Third year guard Mitch Petrus (Arkansas) and second year center Jim Cordle (Ohio State) also made an appearance in the game as well. Pat Flaherty, a seasoned offensive line coach with over 13 years of experience in the NFL, serves as the Offensive Line coach for the Giants and is entering his ninth season with the team.
Other offensive lines from around the league delivering powerful protection during Week 3 were the Minnesota Vikings (344 total yards, 198 passing yards, 146 rushing yards, 0 sacks allowed), the Baltimore Ravens (503 total yards, 382 passing yards, 121 rushing yards, 0 sacks allowed), and the Houston Texans (436 total yards, 284 passing yards, 152 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed).