|Patriots will get changeup from Bradshaw|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 30 January 2008 04:40|
The rookie halfback not only has given the Giants a breakaway threat in the backfield inside and outside tackles, he's also given fans a reason to believe their team can beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
``I just plan on going out and playing my game,'' Bradshaw said Tuesday. ``I didn't get a chance to play against them last time, and I have to take advantage of it.''
When the Giants were beaten by the Patriots, 38-35, in the final game of the regular season, Bradshaw was out with a calf injury.
In the playoffs, however, he's been the team's leading rusher, gaining 163 yards on 39 carries. The 4.2-yard average is a yard higher than Brandon Jacobs', the bruising 6-foot-4, 263-pound starter.
New England linebacker Mike Vrabel said coach Bill Belichick has shown videotape cutups of Bradshaw to get the attention of the defense.
The one that stands out in Vrabel's mind is a 6-yard run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC wild-card game. Bradshaw was hit early, lost his helmet and kept going.
``He is a great back and he is one of those guys who is gaining confidence each time he carries the ball,'' Vrabel said. ``Bill loves him. He shows film of him, he gets his helmet knocked off and runs through three guys and says: 'That's a pretty good 6-yard run.' He's right.''
The run typifies Bradshaw's style of play. He's a 5-foot-9, 200-pounder whose legs never stop churning with each carry.
``It's just a fight for a running back,'' said Bradshaw, a seventh-round draft pick out of Marshall. ``Every play I give it my hardest. That's something I do when I touch the ball. You have to love it.''
Though Bradshaw has a style that coaches love, his off-the-field problems left him waiting by the telephone until the final round of the draft in April.
Bradshaw originally enrolled at Virginia, but left after he was caught drinking.
While he rushed for almost 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns in three seasons at Marshall, he also had another arrest, this time for allegedly stealing a PlayStation 2 video game.
It scared most teams off.
The Giants, who needed a young back with the retirement of Tiki Barber, took a chance after Bradshaw rushed for 1,523 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior.
``When I came here, I talked to the G.M., Jerry (Reese), and he said we're just going to put everything behind us,'' Bradshaw said. ``That's what I came here to do. That's what they drafted me for, and I have to take advantage of it and put everything behind me.''
Bradshaw started the season working mostly on special teams but quickly landed in the doghouse when he fumbled on a kickoff return in the 35-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the second game of the season.
He slowly worked his way back into the kickoff return about halfway through the season and opened some eyes averaging 24.2 yards on returns. He didn't get a chance to run the ball much until the Buffalo game. He finished the regular season with 23 carries for 190 yards, an 8.3 yard average.
``Bradshaw brings a little bit of style and a good change of pace for us,'' coach Tom Coughlin said. ``We have the big back and then we have Bradshaw come into the game. He is very quick. He has proven that he is powerful and he can break tackles. He is a threat, now, whether it is in the open field or at the line of scrimmage.''
What people forgot after the 23-20 overtime NFC title game win in Green Bay, was that Bradshaw had what would have been a long game-winning touchdown run in the fourth quarter called back by a holding penalty.
``Jacobs is a more downhill runner, he wants to get his steam up and get down through the line of scrimmage,'' Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. ``Bradshaw, he can get you either way. They run the same plays, so you have to know which back is running them.''
Bradshaw chuckled when asked about playing in the Super Bowl as a rookie.
``Just playing in this game is a blessing,'' he said.