Running back Antonio Gibson showcased his insane skillset in the Washington Football Team’s Week 18 win over the New York Giants.
Last week I said not to “drink the Kool-Aid” when it came to the Washington Football Team’s game against the New York Giants. This was for a simple reason, the Giants are sort of a dumpster fire at the moment. So it felt like a really safe bet to say that there would be a lot of performances you couldn’t look too much into.
This felt especially true for the defense, as New York scored a total of 19 points combined over their last three games. That trend continued as Washington won 22-7.
The Giants do boast a solid defense though. And Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke has been bad the last few weeks. That continued in Week 18 as well, as he completed just 9-of-18 passes for 120 yards (most of that coming from Terry McLaurin‘s 93 yards). Heinicke was also sacked three times and Washington ended with just 99 passing yards.
So with that in mind, the focus for the New York defense had to be to stop the run. Even with that, there was no stopping Antonio Gibson.
Now you have to give some credit to the offensive line. They were giving Gibson and the other backs room to run. But there were plenty of plays where Gibson made his own magic. This included a play in the red zone where the running back was clearly set to lose a couple of yards before completely changing direction and running all the way to the other side of the field to pick up a solid chunk and almost sneak into the end zone.
On the day, Gibson finished with 21 carries for a career-high 146 rushing yards. He scored one touchdown and even added a catch for five yards. Importantly, Gibson didn’t fumble.
This wasn’t the best year for Gibson. The second-year pro followed up a strong rookie season with some serious fumbling issues (six) this season. He added more rushing yards but actually saw his touchdowns drop.
And that increase in yards was due solely to an increase in workload. Gibson averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his rookie year but went into Week 18 averaging just 3.8 this season.
That massive game managed to get Gibson over 1,000 yards on the season, a great milestone. It also boosted his YPC all the way up to 4.0. Suddenly a bad season doesn’t look so bad. The fumbling is still a big issue but we got to see just how nasty Gibson is. We saw him shedding tackles and making people miss. Using his insane change of direction skills and a great vision.
You hear it all the time, but Gibson was a receiver in college. And he did set new career-highs in receptions (42), receiving yards (294), and receiving touchdowns (3). Add that to his 1,037 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns and you have a phenomenal season.
This was the perfect game to remind everyone just how special Antonio Gibson is. The Washington Football Team has a running back that can be effective in the passing game. More importantly, though, he can take over running the ball. And he’s not just limited to using his speed or making people miss, he can run them over too.
I know just a few days ago I was begging everyone not to get too excited about anything that happens in Week 18. And I’m still going to say that now. Take everything with a little grain of salt. It was fantastic to see this type of game from Gibson though.
Antonio Gibson has the potential and skill set to be elite. But a few issues stunted the hype this year. Now he has a big game to end the year with. If he can work on this problem (mainly the fumbles) this is one position that Washington won’t have to worry about at all this offseason – leaving them money, energy, focus, and draft stock to use on areas of true need.