Saquon Barkley made his return. It was respectable. It wasn’t spectacular. And it wasn’t satisfying.
The Giants fell in the rain to Arizona, 27-21, Sunday at MetLife Stadium. But the Pro Bowl running back was finally back and at least feeling like the player he was before suffering the high right ankle sprain in Week 3 against Tampa Bay that sidelined him for three games.
“I think cutting was fine,” Barkley said. “I broke some long ones today. I made some people miss. … I think I did fine. I think I felt fine. I know I felt fine. But I didn’t do enough to help my team win.”
Barkley averaged an even 4.0 yards per carry, running 18 times for 72 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, after being held to 29 yards in the first half.
“There’s only so much he can do,” receiver Golden Tate said. “… The other 10 guys got to do their job in order for him to do well, and he has to do his job in order for us to do well.”
He ripped off a 20-yard run that counted and a 32-yarder that didn’t because of a hold. Daniel Jones also targeted him five times, completing three of the passes, but for only 8 yards. Barkley also dropped a short pass on the final drive.
Still, he didn’t feel as if he were covered in rust.
“I felt like I was running well,” Barkley said. “I think I did a little too much on some stuff, but that’s part of my game. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Most of the time, it works. So I’ve got to go watch film and see what I can do better to help my team win.”
Barkley tweaked the ankle on a run in the third quarter. He came up limping and headed off. But not for long.
“Someone just landed on it,” he said. “That’s kind of part of the healing process with this thing. I just went out real quick, got it taped up and came back and played.”
Evan Engram praised Barkley’s body of work for the day.
“He came back and did everything he could, made some big plays,” the tight end said. “We’ve just got to play better together and put everything together as a team. I think he did really well and he came out there and he fought his butt off.”
Still, the Giants are now a 2-5 team. They will ride a three-game losing streak into Detroit on Sunday.
The frustration level?
“I don’t think it’s frustration at all,” Barkley said. “I think we’ve got to go back to the drawing board. I know you [media] guys are going to say what you guys want to say about being 2-5. But our season is not over. We still have a positive mindset in the locker room. We always will no matter what. So we’ve just got to get ready for the next game.”