A month ago in a late afternoon Sunday in Seattle, the Giants put a neatly, tight bow on an impressive 17-12 victory in Seattle.
The defense did their part with five sacks to stymie Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson, while the offense moved behind running back Wayne Gallman, who generated 165 yards on 16 carries within a team total of 190.
Alfred Morris proved to be the perfect complement in the backfield for Gallman, as the Giants apparently had filled the void for the injured Saquon Barkley.
It was the fourth straight win for the Giants, as well as the same productive, four-game stretch for Gallman.
Despite consistent offensive issues, the Giants discovered a running game that balanced the offense, and sometimes titled it toward running the ball.
That was then, and this is now.
Over the past three weeks, the Giants’ running game has disappeared.
Since then, Gallman’s best performance has been 57 yards in a 26-7 loss to Arizona, and the team has accumulated a total of 206 yards in those three games as opposed to 190 in the Seattle win.
Quarterback Daniel Jones emerged as a running threat (406 yards), but his recent hamstring and ankle injuries have kept him in the pocket.
The Giants (5-10) will try to uncork their running game in an NFC East showdown against Dallas (6-9) at MetLife early Sunday afternoon. A win and a Washington (6-9) loss by Philadelphia would give the Giants the NFC East title.
However, the Cowboys will enter MetLife on a three-game winning streak with their own vested interest, needing a win and a Philadelphia victory.
Yet, the good news for the Giants is that the Cowboys’ overall ranked 27th defense is the league-worst against the run, giving up an average of 161 yards per contest. They have allowed an average of 30 points per game.
If Jones can find his rhythm early, Gallman and Morris can provide a balance that is needed. Their running game also can benefit from a consistent diet provided by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and consistent blocking by the line.
In their first meeting, the Giants managed 89 yards on the ground behind Davonta Freeman’s 60 yards in the team’s 37-34 loss Oct. 11. Soon after, Freeman was lost for the year.
In this meeting, the reemergence of the Giants’ running game can be the difference between a meaningless finish and a division championship.
(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)