Wayne Gallman was in the training room before Sunday’s Redskins-Giants game when Saquon Barkley wandered in to deliver his version of a pep talk.
The starter at running back, who will be sidelined with an ankle injury for at least three more weeks, informed Gallman that he had just given him a vote of confidence on Twitter. He guaranteed to his 332,000 followers that Gallman was “gonna go crazy today” as Barkley’s replacement.
“I was like, ‘Bro, why would you do that?’ ” Gallman said with a laugh after the Giants’ 24-3 win. “I was like: ‘Now I’ve got to show up.’ ”
Gallman did more than that. He helped spark the Giants to a 24-3 win by scoring two touchdowns in the first half.
Gallman had 18 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 55 yards and another TD. He totaled 118 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches.
“He showed up today. He showed up,” tight end Evan Engram said. “He prepared all week. He was ready for this moment.”
Gallman, a third-year pro with only three previous career touchdowns, said he had been preparing for this day his entire career.
“I was comfortable from the snap,” he said. “You know, I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time. I’ve been ready for it. Just been waiting a long time for it and wasn’t going to let it get away from me.
“I was going to show everybody that even though ‘Say’ is out, I’m Wayne and I can do whatever it takes to win.”
It was exactly the type of performance the Giants needed to see, because they will be relying heavily on Gallman until Barkley gets back.
Barkley was averaging 15 carries per game before injuring his ankle while catching a pass in Week 3 against the Buccaneers. At the time he was injured, the team said he would be out four to eight weeks, though Barkley has said he hopes to get back sooner.
“I think he did a hell of a job,” coach Pat Shurmur said of Gallman. “Everybody out there had a few bad plays, but he stepped in with a heavy load and did a really nice job. I’m pleased with what he did.”
Gallman’s 6-yard touchdown reception on the Giants’ first drive set the tone and seemed to give everyone at MetLife Stadium some confidence. When he scored again on a 1-yard run with 12:01 left in the second quarter to give the Giants a 14-0 lead, it became clear that even if he isn’t Barkley, he is a multi-dimensional player.
Gallman said he will do everything he can to hold the fort until Barkley returns.
“Saquon’s Saquon but I’m me, and it’s all about just feeding off of each other,” Gallman said. “So when Saquon comes back and we go back to the original rotation, I’ll always be prepared, so I’m always ready.”
The Giants kept Wayne Gallman busy in his first game replacing Saquon Barkley:
Carries 18 Yards 63 Avg. 3.5 Long Gain 22 TD 1
Receptions 6 Yards 55 Avg. 9.2 Long Gain 21 TD 1