Bengals Film Study: Did Cincy Take Notes on Shutting Down Eli and Cruz?

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The Giants offense has had an up and down season so far. Coming in to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals on Sunday, there is a handful of reasons to be pessimistic about how the Bengals’ defense matches up, but the other hand is full of reasons to be optimistic.

On the one hand, New York’s left tackle, David Diehl, does not seem to have much interest in putting up resistance while pass blocking. He is returning from injury and looks more rusty than the Tin Man. Michael Johnson, whose hot start has tailed off down the road, might have a chance to jump start his season.

The Giants’ running game features Ahmad Bradshaw, who is really just another guy at this stage in his career. He is not going to juke anybody out of their jocks, but he knows how to find a crease and run north and south. Nothing about the Giants running game is terribly fancy – the standard trap plays, iso runs and stretch zone runs – but there is one play out of shotgun that Eli Manning uses as sort of a chess match against the defense.

Bradshaw runs a Power O play out of the shotgun formation

In this Power O play out of the shotgun, Manning loves to look for the weak side of the defense, and if they do not match up then he will switch Bradshaw to the other side and reverse the play, as shown above. If Bradshaw stays put, tight end Martellus Bennett will pull and take on the blocking responsibilities that the fullback would normally have in the Power O play. In this play, with the play coming to the strong side, he clears out the hole straight ahead.

Of course, the passing game is going to be the biggest concern. Another Manning, and another week of facing a playbook full of option routes. The younger Manning does have a more diverse playbook, with Kevin Gilbride’s offense being influenced as much by his Warren-Moon-era Oilers’ run and shoot offense as Peyton’s is by the great Sid Gillman.

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