Here are the top-five performances from New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley during his remarkable rookie season.
When the New York Giants selected Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, there was some speculation from some fans. Was it the right pick? Should they’ve looked towards drafting Eli Manning’s successor? The 2018 draft was loaded with quarterbacks, so the latter question was a legitimate argument.
However as the 2018 regular season went on, many saw that going with Barkley was the right move. He could do it all on the field, an aspect that showed how Giants general manager Dave Gettleman made the correct selection.
Barkley finished the year with 1307 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns, along with 91 receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns. His 2028 yards from scrimmage made him the third rookie in NFL history to surpass the 2000-yard mark.
Barkley’s 91 receptions broke the rookie record for single-season catches by a running back. It also tied the Giants franchise record for catches by a rookie, previously set by Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014.
But what games and performances really stood out for the former Penn State Nittany Lion during his rookie campaign? We have them here for you.
Here are the top five performances from Barkley throughout his Pro Bowl rookie season.
5. Week 13 Win at Home vs. the Chicago Bears
The 3-8 Giants hosted the 8-3 Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium in a Week 13 matchup. The Giants, although five games below .500, were still alive in the NFC playoff race and desperately needed a win. And that’s when Barkley pulled through.
Despite not reaching the end zone in this game, Barkley managed to rack up 125 yards on 24 carries, an average of 5.2 yards per carry. He also did what he needed to do through the air. Barkley had three receptions in the game for a total of 21 yards.
His 146 total yards from scrimmage helped boost the Giants to a huge win over the eventual NFC North champion-Bears. The Giants pulled away in the end with a 30-27 overtime victory.
4. Week 12 loss on the Road vs. the Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants were 3-7 and still alive in the NFC East race, as they were facing the 4-6 Philadelphia Eagles. It was a Week 12 game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly, and Big Blue desperately needed a victory against their division rival.
They eventually lost the game 25-22, due to the fact they hardly utilized Saquon Barkley in the second half. However, if what Barkley was able to do in the first two quarters was translated to the final two quarters, this game would’ve made the No. 1 spot on our list.
Barkley finished the game with 101 yards on 13 carries and one score, averaging 7.8 yards per rush. He busted through for a 51-yard touchdown during the first half. The rookie also managed to rack up seven receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. The score was from 13 yards out and put the Giants on the board first after their opening possession.
If head coach Pat Shurmur just utilized Barkley more in the second half, the Giants could’ve pulled away with the victory. His total yards from scrimmage would’ve been a lot more than just the above-average amount of 142.
3. Week 14 Win on the Road vs the Washington Redskins
The Giants were fresh off of a win against the Bears and were looking for more as they headed into Landover, MD to face the division-rival Redskins. At a record of 4-8, the Giants were still in it as far as a playoff race was concerned, however, a win was imperative. Saquon Barkley was aware of that going in, and it sure motivated him to put on a show.
Barkley achieved a season-high (and career-high) 170 yards on the ground on 14 carries. This also gave him a career high of 12.1 yards per rush on the day. Many of those yards came from his 78-yard score in the first half, also a career-high for the rookie.
He didn’t shy away through the air either. Barkley helped out with the air attack and was able to catch four passes for 27 yards.
The Giants eventually won the game 40-16 over Washington and improved their record to 5-8 on the year.
2. Week 11 Win at Home vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Giants were fresh off their Week 10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, their first win since Week 3. However, at 2-7, they knew they weren’t done when they hosted the 3-6 Bucs at MetLife Stadium. Having a great rookie season thus far, Saquon Barkley knew he wasn’t done either.
On 27 carries, Barkley rushed for 142 yards and two scores on the ground. The first rushing touchdown was from five yards out in the first quarter, with the second one from two yards out in the fourth.
He didn’t have his most productive game through the air, but still managed to have two receptions for 10 yards. One of the receptions was for a touchdown on the first possession of the game from six yards out.
Although it became a shootout, it shouldn’t have been that close. Nonetheless, the Giants were still able to pull away with the victory. They defeated the Bucs 38-35 and improved to 3-7 on the year.
1. Week 6 Loss at Home vs the Philadelphia Eagles
It was the first of two matchups against the division-rival Eagles during the 2018 regular season. Barkley and the Giants were destined to put on a good showing for their home crowd in what was a Thursday night matchup at MetLife Stadium. Barkley, however, was the only one to keep his promise.
The second overall pick gained 130 yards on 13 carries, a remarkable ten yards per rush. He did have one score on the ground with a 50-yard burst for the end zone in the third quarter. It was the only Giants touchdown of the night.
Barkley also racked up 99 yards through the air on nine receptions. This put his total yards from scrimmage for the game at 229 yards, a career-high for him.
One player wasn’t going to make the game-deciding difference for the Giants, however. Big Blue fell to the Eagles 34-13. They dropped to 1-5 in what was an ugly first half of the 2018 season.