The Giants aren’t ashamed to buck the trend and build around their running game. It would help if it actually worked.
Saquon Barkley was remarkably ineffective in last night’s loss to the Steelers, with just 6 yards on 15 carries.
According to Tom Rock of Newsday, that makes him just the sixth player since the 1970 merger to rush for single-digit yards on 15 or more carries.
“I have to do better,” Barkley said. “I have to do better for the team. We have to find a way to get the running game going.”
It’s hard to pin it all on Barkley, as he was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on 11 of those carries — part of a general offensive line problem for the Giants. And the fantasy points didn’t bother him as much as being 0-1.
The Steelers made no secret of the fact they were trying to limit Barkley, and coach Mike Tomlin praised his team for meeting the physical challenge.
“We had a commitment and we weren’t going to be bashful about that commitment,” Tomlin said. “We thought that guy was a catalyst for whatever that they were going to do offensively. We put our secondary in harm’s way some in an effort to do so. It’s a team game. They embraced that challenge. We needed to stack the line of scrimmage. . . . We did what we thought was necessary to minimize his impact on the game.”
Barkley did make some plays in the passing game (six catches for 60 yards, including a 38-yarder), but the pressure on him will not lessen as the year goes on — from other teams or his own.
“Look, we’re going to stay aggressive with the run game,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “Saquon is a key part of our team, he’s going to be a difference-maker in how successful this team is going to be, so we’re going to stay with him. We have a lot of confidence in him. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in our offensive line . . . We’re going to keep leaning on these guys.”
They’re all going to have to be better, and Barkley has shown indication he can.