The Giants had their worst performance of the season – by far – in a 34-13 loss to the Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night, but through no fault of rookie running back Saquon Barkley.
In fact, the former Penn State star was the only bright spot on an otherwise miserable night for the Giants, rushing for a game-high 130 yards on 13 carries and leading the team with nine catches for 99 yards. Barkley scored the team’s only touchdown on a 50-yard run off right tackle with 6:10 to play in the third quarter.
Barkley also turned a screen pass into a 55-yard gain in the second quarter to set up a field goal that got the Giants to within 14-6 with 5:44 to play before halftime.
The production was all well and good, but Barkley was more concerned with the final outcome.
“How did I feel about my performance tonight? Doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “We didn’t get the win. To be completely honest, don’t care. As long as we get the win, I don’t care for however many yards, or even if I went for 30 yards. If we got the win, I would be satisfied, but at the end of the day, we didn’t, so none of that matters.”
Barkley lamented the missed opportunities, especially as the game wore on.
“We got to find a way to finish games,” he said. “Offensive-wise, put more points on the board. Stop shooting ourselves in the foot, making mistakes. It doesn’t matter how you get it done. You just got to find a way to get it done.”
Why does the team continue to struggle offensively?
“That’s a great question and that’s something that we have to figure out as a team, as an offensive unit,” he said. “We have the talent. We have a great coaching staff. We just got to come together, continue to play our butts off and good things will come. We just got to continue to believe in each other, keep a positive mindset. Obviously, we can’t be happy with where we’re at. At 1-5, that’s not acceptable at all, but we got to stick together as a team and we can’t fall apart.”
Barkley said he wasn’t even aware of his production, only that the Giants trailed the entire game.
“You really don’t even know that you’re dominating in a game when you’re down two touchdowns, three touchdowns,” he said. “Only thing in your mind is no matter what, if you’re down by 40, if you’re down by 50, 60 or whatever, you just continue to play your heart out for this team and for your brothers on the sideline, so you’re not even focusing on that. I guess that’s why you don’t even notice it because that’s just the mindset that I have.”
The numbers were exceptional, though.
He has gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his six games and had 229 total yards against the Eagles. It was his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, and he now has carried 84 times for 438 yards and four touchdowns. He also has 40 catches for 373 yards and two touchdowns.
“My mindset is to go out there and play my butt off, lead on the sideline, push myself, push my teammates and do whatever it takes to help the team win or help put us in a better position to win,” he said. “It’s never really the mindset of carrying the team on my back. If that’s how people take it or see it. then I guess you could say that, but my mindset is just go out there fighting, fighting my butt off and try to break tackles and make plays for my teammates.”