The New York Giants found themselves in a unique and completely unexpected position on Sunday, forced to use back-up tight end Bear Pascoe in a running situation. With Peyton Hillis inactive due to a concussion, Brandon Jacobs and David Wilson already on Injured Reserve (IR), the team went into their Week 16 game against the Detroit Lions with only Andre Brown and rookie Michael Cox. So when Brown went down with a concussion of his own, the team was forced to improvise on the fly.
Following a sliding first down catch by wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, the Giants went into hurry-up mode to avoid the the play being reviewed. Although ruled as a catch on the field, quarterback Eli Manning & Co. didn't want to risk it, so their only option was to get to the line and hand the rock to Pascoe, who was being used in place of Cox in pass protection.
“I think you have to. Fourth down, you can’t risk it. You kind of get a play run quickly and the fastest thing is to get a right call and it was something that we practiced,' Manning said. "Obviously, we don’t practice with that personnel since the fact that Bear into the passing game is because of Andre’s injury, but we just told him what to do and Bear has been here long enough. He knows everything that is going on. He’s out there holding on to the football and getting a few yards as well.”
For Pascoe, it was his first NFL carry and his first since playing quarterback in High School. Needless to say, the run served it's purpose, and only three plays later, Josh Brown would kick the game-winning field goal.
“I just lined up there and Eli said run it right there,” Pascoe said. “I ran it right there. I just made sure I didn't drop the ball."
Although it worked in this particular instance, it is a telling microcosm of the Giants' season. Injuries have devastated this team from top to bottom, and have forced them into a lot of bizarre personnel packages — none as strange as Bear Pascoe as a running back, however.
Given their current cap situation and their current injury situation, it'll be interesting to see how they approach their Week 17 game against the Washington Redskins. When all is said and done, Pascoe may find himself with a few additional carries and something else to add to his career resume.
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