The New York Giants were 6-1 earlier this season with Ben Bredeson starting at left guard.
After Bredeson went out of the lineup with a sprained MCL, the Giants went 1-4-1 over a six-game stretch as their running game sputtered. During that time, Joshua Ezeudu, Shane Lemieux, Jack Anderson and Nick Gates filled in at the left guard spot.
Bredeson was activated from injured reserve in time for last Sunday’s critical NFC East game against the Washington Commanders. Nick Gates started, but the two players rotated. They each took two offensive series at a time.
As things turned out, Bredeson’s first action ended up being on the Giants’ 18-play, 97-yard touchdown drive — their best drive of the season.
Bredeson was also at left guard on the Giants’ final possession when they went 11 plays and 54 yards in 4:11 for a 50-yard Graham Gano field goal that gave the Giants their final 20-12 margin of victory. Saquon Barkley had runs up the middle of 12, 15 and 14 yards to start that drive.
Is the 24-year-old Bredeson some sort of good luck charm for the Giants’ offense?
When I asked Bredeson on Tuesday what he brought to the offense, Oshane Ximines, who lockers next to Bredeson, piped up:
“Wins, man, wins! It’s him!” hollered Ximines.
Like a good, modest offensive lineman, Bredeson wasn’t claiming that kind of credit.
“We had a really great team performance out there on Sunday. I was very happy. It was great to be back out there with everybody,” Bredeson said. “I thought the offense played really well. I thought the defense played really well. Special teams, everybody. So I thought we had a great game plan going in with the coaches. And it felt great. It felt like we had a lot of energy out there. And things were going our way.”
How did he handle 18 plays on his first series, which might have been about what he expected to play in the entire game?
“I felt good,” Bredeson said. “Luckily, there were some well-timed TV timeouts in there. So it was alright.”
Bredeson said that might have been the longest drive he has ever been part of.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever hit 18. That’s a lot of plays,” he said. “But just being able to have that time of possession, keep the ball in our hands and execute and not make mistakes. That was huge, and it’s a great goal for our offense.”
He was also proud of the work done by the offensive line on the final drive for the Gano field goal.
“That’s kind of the goal of the offensive line always. When we get those close situations where we need to have a nice long drive, eat up clock and move the ball and finish it with a score,” he said. “That’s what, that’s really where it comes down to, if we can run the ball effectively on the defense, especially when they know that we’re gonna run the ball. I felt like we did that. That drive we took up four and a half minutes, got it down to under the two-minute warning and we got a field goal at the end.”
Head coach Brian Daboll was non-committal Tuesday about how he would handle the guard and center spots Saturday against Minnesota between Bredeson, Gates, Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski.
“I think they’ve all earned the right to play, they know what to do, they’re tough, competitive, so that will be a discussion we have kind of at the end of probably every week going forward,” Daboll said.
Of Bredeson in particular, Daboll said he has “been a good player for us when we’ve asked him to be in there.”
Maybe a bit of a good luck charm, too.