Giants 101 already wrote about David Wilson once this morning, but there's so much more to say other than the stats: a franchise record 327 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns don't even begin to illustrate the impact Wilson had for the New York Giants in yesterday's 52-27 romp over Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Like any game where nearly 80 points are scored, yesterday seems like a long, foggy madness of touchdowns and turnovers…brightly punctuated throughout by Wilson's big plays. And those big plays did a lot more for Big Blue than accumulate a ton of yards.
Wilson single-handedly steered the narrative, inserting himself at key moments and turning the plot in favor of the protagonists. It was the perfect setting for a dark Giants tragedy: the cold, the rain, Eli Manning interceptions, the mere presence of Drew Brees…but Wilson betrayed the author's cruelest intentions and became more than a backup running back.
He became a symbol.
He re-instilled spark in an offense that had clearly lost it: the quarterback slumping badly; the star receiver hobbled; the other star receiver invisible at times; the running game stagnant behind a flawed offensive line and a warrior lead back in the midst of breaking down.
But after the second long kickoff yesterday, everyone in the house knew it; the Giants, the Saints, the fans…probably Wilson himself. They knew that every time the kid got the ball the rest of the day, there'd be that feeling in your stomach: is he gonna do it again?
And it's that feeling, that big-play-at-any-moment element, that the Giants have been missing lately. Victor Cruz brought it last year. Ahmad Bradshaw brought it his rookie season. And it looks like the Giants will need Wilson to bring it this year.
Sure, he can reinvigorate the running game, but a few explosive plays a game can have effects well beyond moving the ball and scoring a few points. His explosive dynamic presents intangible benefits threefold: it provides, maintains and changes momentum; it at times single-handedly takes the offense out of slumps; and perhaps most importantly, it puts defenses on their heels.
The Giants now have a guy who can take back a kickoff and even up a game after the quarterback throws a Pick-6 to put them in a 7-0 hole.
They now have a guy who can make one cut and take it 52 yards to the house untouched.
They now have a guy with the patience and discipline to wait for his hole to open up on 3rd-and-2, extending important drives late in games.
And as Manning has so clearly struggled behind an inconsistent offensive line, without a healthy Hakeem Nicks and an also somewhat inconsistent Cruz, they clearly need that guy. A little juice in the running game, a little something for defenses to think about, and everything opens up again for Eli.
David Wilson looks like that guy.
And we haven't seen that around here since……Ahmad Bradshaw's late-year rookie season breakout in 2007.
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, David Wilson, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Victor Cruz
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