EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The best way for the New York Giants’ offensive line to protect Eli Manning against the Indianapolis Colts might be to mimic the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers did a number on the Colts’ defense this past weekend as Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns and Pittsburgh gained 639 yards in total offense in a 51-34 win over Indianapolis.
Coming off a bye, the Giants’ line has watched the video of the Steelers’ performance against what had been one of the NFL’s top defenses.
Pittsburgh was patient and didn’t make many mistakes. Roethlisberger bought himself time and made plays along with his receivers and backs.
The offensive line saw something else as the Giants (3-4) prepared for Monday night’s game against the Colts (5-3) at MetLife Stadium. The Steelers played hard, almost as if its season was hanging in the balance.
”They went out and fought,” Giants tackle Justin Pugh said. ”They fought hard. You look at the film and Pittsburgh was finishing. They were doing a lot of good things.”
The most impressive statistic was that the Steelers ran 81 plays and did not allow a sack. The Colts recorded 20 sacks in the five-game winning streak that was ended last weekend.
Fellow tackle Will Beatty was cautious when asked about the Steelers’ easy win, pointing out that the Colts were No. 3 defense heading into last week.
”We don’t think it’s one game and now they are shutting it down,” Beatty said of the Colts. ”They are going to come to play, and we have to come show up.”
What the Giants have to do this week to end a two-game losing streak is establish the run. They failed to do that in losses to Philadelphia and Dallas and it contributed to bad performances by the offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s group.
The offensive line could get a boost if guard Geoff Schwartz is able to make his Giants’ debut. He signed a big contract in the offseason but he has been sidelined after injuring a toe in a preseason game against the Jets. He returned to practice this week, but he is not sure whether he will be cleared to play.
”I guess I never realized how much I really use my big toe,” Schwartz said. ”It’s everything I do as an offensive lineman. I know being my weight doesn’t really help it either, but that’s kind of who I am, so I deal with it.”
If Schwartz does play it’s unclear how the Giants will change their starting lineup.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin is more interested in getting all his players to start making plays for the final nine games of the regular season. The 68-year-old was animated after being asked about the Steelers’ effort last week, saying he would like to have 639 yards in total offense, too.
When asked what his offense could take from the Steelers performance, Coughlin knew exactly what he wanted from his team.
”Make the play. Make plays. Please make plays,” Coughlin said. ”Run around, jump up and down, do whatever you want. Scramble, bring the guy across from the other side of the field, throw him the ball up in the air, catch it and run in the end zone.”
Manning said Roethlisberger had a lot to do with the Steelers’ success.
”Some of it was him scrambling around,” Manning said. ”They had great protection. Even on plays where he checked it down, their offensive line did a great job. Receivers did a good job getting open. It was one of those days where everything worked for them and did not work Indianapolis. You have to look at all the games and figure out their scheme and what they might try to do and have a good answer for it.”
NOTES: Starting RB Rashad Jennings (knee) will not play Monday night, his third straight game out of the lineup. …DT Cullen Jenkins did not practice because of a calf injury and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was limited with back and hamstring problems. …Almost 100 former Giants players will be in attendance Monday night when Michael Strahan will receive his Hall of Fame ring in a halftime ceremony.
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