After scoring three touchdowns and gaining 142 yards on the ground in the New York Giants’ win over Tampa Bay, Saquon Barkley was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
On Wednesday New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley earned his first award as an NFL player as he was named NFC Offensive Play of the Week, following the Giants 38-35 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Barkley carried the ball 27 times against the Buccaneers for a season high 142 yards, scoring two touchdowns on the ground and adding another on a six-yard reception in the first quarter.
— New York Giants (@Giants) November 21, 2018
Barkley became the first Giants player to score on a reception and a run in the same game since wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan did it against the Washington Redskins on December 29th, 2013.
He also became the just the second Giants rookie to win an Offensive Player of the Week award. Tight end Jeremy Shockey won the award in Week 17 in 2002 following the Giants 10-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
There was a ton of hype surrounding Barkley up to and after the NFL draft. It’s safe to say he is living up to those expectations.
Through 10 games he’s carried the ball 158 times for 728 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground. He also has 64 receptions, which is second most on the team, for 540 yards and has three receiving touchdowns.
Barkley is well on his way toward becoming the first Giants running back since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012 to rush for 1,000 yards. He’s also on pace to have over 2,000 all-purpose yards.
There are very few running backs in the history of the NFL that have the skill set of Barkley.
At 6 feet, 233 pounds, you wouldn’t expect him to be as fast and elusive as he is, and to have pass-catching abilities like a wide receiver.
Following the bye week, head coach Pat Shurmur has made it a priority to get the ball in Barkley’s hands more often.
In the Giants first eight games, Barkley averaged 13 carries a game; in the last two weeks, Barkley has carried the ball 47 times (20 & 27). That is one of the reasons the Giants have won two games in a row for the first time since December 2016.
It’s not just that Barkley is an exceptional player. He’s also emerging as one of the leaders on the team and always says the right thing.
Now Barkley and the Giants are focused on Sunday’s game against the Eagles. The Giants are looking for their first win in Philadelphia since 2013 and to avenge their 34-13 drubbing in Week 6.
Early this week Barkley was asked what the difference is between the team now and when they face the Eagles in October.
“Obviously the biggest difference from our team last time we played Philly is that we’ve been finding ways to finish out games and execute when needed, and that’s what we’ve got to continue to improve on and continue to do for the rest of the year.”
Barkley will look to replicate the performance he had in the last contest against the Eagles. In that game he gained 130 yards on the ground on 13 carries, and had nine receptions for 99 yards.
If he can duplicate that performance and the Giants win, he might be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row.