EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There's a good chance the second Manning Bowl might not be decided by either Eli or Peyton.
While the Giants struggled running the ball last season, they showed signs of getting their attack back in the second half of their 31-18 victory over the Carolina Panthers as Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs ran for 110 of the team's 118 yards.
"We are going to establish the run game. That's Giants football," Eli Manning said Wednesday. "It's something we're going to try to do and a part of that is being able to throw the ball successfully also."
The Colts obviously will be working on their run defense this week, but they will be without safety Bob Sanders. The NFL defensive player of the year in 2007 had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn biceps muscle in his right arm and will be out indefinitely.
"You can't hide from the fact that last week we did not perform very well," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "Our objective is we make no excuses. We have to get better because we are facing a team that can obviously run the ball with some very, very capable backs in terms of Bradshaw and Jacobs. Those two guys can run it at you so we have to be better."
Jacobs said there is no doubt in his mind that the Colts' run defense will improve.
"After a week like that, we know they're going to concentrate more on the run than they probably ever did," he said. "We look at the Houston game and look at certain run keys and reads, but we know it's going to be a tough, physical game."
Jacobs, who gained 44 yards on 12 carries in his new role as Bradshaw's backup, believed Houston got most of its rushing yards with a couple of big plays and a good scheme.
"Things like that have happened in the first game of the season every year in this league," he said. "You have to go in there and expect something different than what they did last week."
"For us, we always think that to win football games we have to get the run game going to open things downfield," Diehl said. "It's nothing against Eli and our receivers, we have all the faith in the world in them, but up front we think we are at our best when we get our run game going so we can play smash-mouth football and take the edge off the defense."
In getting the running game going last week, Diehl said the offense made some great halftime adjustments, stopped the negative plays and turned the 2-to-3 yards gains into some longer runs.
"I think what Houston showed that we won't play well if we make mistakes and don't execute some of the basic fundamentals of the game, that it's tough to win and especially against a good team," Peyton Manning said. "I think that was the case on Sunday. Houston played well, and I thought we didn't play well enough at some critical times."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press