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Giants Q&A: Did Saquon Barkley's big 'give-up' run give Giants a spark?

Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants

Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants runs the ball during the second quarter against DeAndre Houston-Carson #36 of the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

How did a “give-up” play help the Giants win?

Because when you hand the ball to Saquon Barkley, there is no such thing as surrender. So that’s what the Giants did on third-and-23 from their 30 with 17 seconds left in the first half. Barkley wove through the Bears’ defense, cutting and juking his way for a 22-yard gain.

“In my mind, every time I touch the ball, I believe that I have the ability to score,” he said. “We didn’t score on that, but it was a big play. My mindset was to get as much as I could, preserve time and try to get points on the board going into halftime.”

He did that, scooting out of bounds with six seconds left.

“Huge, huge,” Pat Shurmur said of the play. “It’s sort of a give-up call, you just run it, but when you hand the ball to Saquon, that’s not the case. He’s a super, super-talented guy.”

The Giants still had to convert on fourth-and-1 — Eli Manning hit Rhett Ellison for 9 yards and he went out of bounds at the 39 with one second left. That brought Aldrick Rosas on for a 57-yard field goal that gave the Giants their first offensive points of the game as time expired, closed the gap to 14-10 and seemed to light a spark for the entire team.

Said left tackle Nate Solder of Barkley’s run: “That really won us the game.”  

Fifty-seven yards? That’s pretty far, huh?

The farthest — at least in Giants history. Rosas’ kick was one yard longer than the team record of 56, which was achieved twice by Ali Haji-Sheikh in 1983. It was two yards longer than Rosas’ previous career high of 55.

Not that he noticed. The second-year kicker has taken to not paying attention to yardage or distance on his attempts in an effort to maintain concentration on his mechanics. Still, he was happy to know about the team record . . . afterward. “That’s pretty cool,” he said.   

How did the members of the Giants’ offensive line respond to their toughest challenge of the season?

While they were far from perfect — they did allow three sacks, and Manning has been brought down a career-high 41 times this season — they held their own against Khalil Mack and company for the majority of the afternoon. They also helped Barkley gain 125 rushing yards on 24 carries.    

 Did the narrative that the Bears’ defensive front would overrun the Giants stick in their craw?

“Of course,” guard Jamon Brown said. “The media can make these guys seem like they’re super-human . . . Those are great players, but we have great guys over here, too.”

Shurmur joked that he was asked so many questions about the Bears’ defensive linemen that he wondered if he should just cancel the game. Inside the locker room, though, the feeling was very different from the outside perspective. “I have so much frigging confidence in our offensive line,” Solder said.

There was one key sack by the Bears. On third-and-8 from the 30 with about four minutes left in regulation, Mack brought Manning down for a loss of 9 that pushed them out of field-goal range. The Giants were up 24-17 at that point. Why were they even trying to pass?

Short answer: They shouldn’t have been. Longer answer: Once they were, Manning has to get rid of the ball. “We can’t take a sack there,” Shurmur said. “We need to do a better job protecting, but we’ve also got to at least throw the ball away and kick the field goal. That’s not good on our part.”

Even with the sack, it would have been a 57-yard attempt for Rosas (who was good from that distance in the opposite direction earlier). Why not try it again?

“I felt like it was a little bit too long right there,” Shurmur said. Plus, a miss would have given the Bears the ball near midfield, down by 10, with about 2 1/2 minutes to go.

What explanation did the officials give for the pass-interference call against B.W. Webb on the penultimate play of regulation?

None. At least not directly to Webb, who was pleading for one. “He didn’t say [expletive] to me,” the cornerback said. “Not a word. Not a word . . . He just told me to walk away, so that’s what I did.”

Didn’t it seem as if the pass was too high to be caught, which would have negated the penalty?

Said Webb: “If I was the ref, I wouldn’t have thrown it.”

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