FanPost

A breakdown of the 2012 Giants' rush offense and beyond

Ahmad Bradshaw - USA TODAY Sports

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is great work by 'GhostDini.' It deserves to be featured. Enjoy]

The first half of this post will focus on the rush offense. The second half will look at the entire offense. After the big seasons with the O'Hara lines and the dismal 2011 season running the ball, many Giants fans have been quick to bash the offensive line's ability to run block, pointing to David Baas in particular. Let's take a look at the numbers.

I'll be using Football Outsiders and Team Rankings for the bulk of my analysis.

Yards per Carry

The Giants ranked 7th in yards per carry at 4.6. That's a very good ranking but let's look even deeper and narrow it down to just RBs. Giants' RBs ranked 5th in the NFL at 4.75 YPC. The league average was 4.25 YPC. For the people who say that the Giants are poor at run-blocking, these numbers strongly dispute that. It supports the theory that Jacobs and Bradshaw were very big reasons for the bad numbers in 2011. Also, it shows how much better Brown and Wilson are than Bradshaw behind the same line.

Yards Per Carry by Running Backs (NFL)

1.

MIN

5.67

2.

BUF

5.15

3.

KAN

4.84

4.

SEA

4.83

5.

NYG

4.75

Yards Per Carry by Running Backs (Giants*)

1.

Brown

5.3

2.

Wilson

5.0

3.

Bradshaw

4.6

* I listed only the players with a minimum of 10 carries.

Power Success

While YPC shows the overall success of a rushing attack, it can be misleading. One long run can slant the numbers and mask a rush offense's inability to get yards consistently. That's where Power Success comes in. FO's definition is as follows:

Power Success: Percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown. Also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer. This is the only statistic on this page that includes quarterbacks.

These are the runs where everybody expects you to run it. The defense knows the run is coming and the offense is going to try to run it at them anyway. Giants fans know that the Giants had struggled in short yardage situations for years. It was either Jacobs up the middle or an inside draw to Ware. Well, they didn't struggle with it this season. The Giants ranked 8th in the NFL at 67%. The league average was 63%.

Power Success %

1.

CAR

75%

2.

IND

72%

3.

NO

71%

4.

SEA

70%

5.

CIN(5), PHI(6)

69%

7.

GB

68%

8.

NYG

67%

Stuffed

Percentage of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage.

This is the first stat that reflects negatively on the Giants. In a ranking of the least amount of stuffs to the most amount of stuffs (the lower, the better), the Giants ranked 18th in the NFL at 19%. The league average was 20%.

The Giants call a lot of running plays where the RB gets the ball 4-5 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Did the offensive line have trouble sustaining blocks? Did the play-calling (for example, the deep tosses to Wilson) make it harder on the run blocking?

Power Success Percentage

1.

SEA

15%

2.

NYJ(2), WAS(3), BAL(4)

16%

5.

DET(5), SD(6), SF(7), CIN(8), BUF(9)

17%

10.

NE(10), MIA(11)

18%

12.

DAL(12), GB(13), NO(14), JAC(15), CLE(16), PIT(17), NYG(18)

19%

Number of Carries and Success of Carries by Direction

Most teams like to run up the middle and the Giants were no different.

Left End

Left Tackle

Center / Guards

Right Tackle

Right End

NYG

14%

17%

47%

12%

9%

NFL Average

12%

14%

52%

14%

9%

Football Outsiders note: Only five directions are listed because research so far shows no statistically significant difference between how well a team performs on runs listed middle, left guard, and right guard.

If the Giants were 7th in YPC and almost half of these runs were up the middle, then it's safe to conclude that the Giants had a lot of success running up the middle.

Heading into the Atlanta game, this is what Pro Football Focus had to say about the Giants' center and guards.

And for all their issues in pass protection this season, Giants center David Baas and guards Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe have excelled in their run blocking. New York has run for 5.5 yards per carry into the A-gaps versus 4.2 YPC on all other designed runs.

Football Outsiders use their own formula to analyze run blocking. They call it Adjusted Line Yards.

Teams are ranked according to Adjusted Line Yards. Based on regression analysis, the Adjusted Line Yards formula takes all running back carries and assigns responsibility to the offensive line based on the following percentages:

  • Losses: 120% value
  • 0-4 Yards: 100% value
  • 5-10 Yards: 50% value
  • 11+ Yards: 0% value

A deeper, more technical explanation can be found here.

Here are FO's rankings. As you can see, the interior of the Giants' offensive line was ranked first overall in the NFL. The true culprits were LT Beatty and RT Diehl/Locklear. I don't have the PFF numbers so I can't individually compare Diehl to Locklear.

LEFT END

LEFT TACKLE

CENTER/GUARD

RIGHT TACKLE

RIGHT END

ALY

Rank

ALY

Rank

ALY

Rank

ALY

Rank

ALY

Rank

4.56

4

4.10

14

4.77

1

3.80

20

4.44

12

More Questions Than Answers

These rankings are well and good but they bring up more questions than answers.

If the Giants were so successful running the ball overall and in short yardage situations, then why do most people feel that they struggled? Well, the Giants were 23rd in rushing attempts. They actually went down from 26.1 attempts per game in 2011 to 25.6 rushing attempts per game in 2012. It's hard to look like you're in a rhythm running the ball when you get so few attempts at it.

So was Gilbride calling far too many passes and not enough runs? Perhaps in certain situations but that wasn't the case for the season. The Giants were 20th in pass attempts. They went down from 37.6 attempts in 2011 to 33.7 attempts in 2012.

Fewer rush attempts. Fewer pass attempts. How many plays did the Giants offense run? The Giants offense ran 60.5 plays per game, ranking 31st in the NFL. In 2011 the Giants offense ran 65.4 plays per game, ranking 5th in the NFL. That is an enormous drop in offensive opportunities.

Yet even with fewer plays, there were a lot of positives about the 2012 Giants offense.

  • 4th in yards per play in 2012 compared to 9th in 2011
  • 4th in red zone scoring opportunities per game in 2012 compared to 6th in 2011
  • 5th in red zone TDs per game in 2012 compared to 8th in 2011
  • 6th in offensive TDs per game in 2012 compared to 6th in 2011
  • 4th in points per game (offense only) in 2012 compared to 6th in 2011

So what went wrong? Third downs. The Giants went from 13th in third-down opportunities in 2011 to 31st in 2012. They went from 11th in third down conversions in 2011 to 20th in conversions in 2012. In turn they were 13th in first downs in 2012 after being 11th in 2011. In other words, fewer third-down opportunities and conversions led to fewer first downs. Fewer first downs led to fewer plays. Simple enough. If the Giants offense wants to improve it's play next season, then it better improve the play-calling and execution on third downs.

FanPosts are written by community members. This is simply a way for community members to express opinions too long to be contained in a comment.

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