All off-season long New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley talked about wanting to prove his place amongst the best running backs in the league again. In Week 1 he did his best to showcase just that.
Barkley finished the day with 164 rushing yards on 18 carries and 30 receiving yards on six receptions. Barkley finished with the most rushing yards of any player in Week 1 and made multiple crucial plays when the Giants needed it to help push the team to an upset victory on Sunday over the Tennessee Titans.
After a touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to Chris Myarick to put the score at 20-19, the Giants had a decision to make on what to do next. Daboll and Barkley were already on the same page.
“When we scored I was out on the field and we kind of made eye contact, he gave me a look. I knew what the play was going to be. He gave me that look and I kinda looked back at him. And I said ‘eff, yeah.’” Barkley said. “He’s a man of his word. He told us he was going to be aggressive. He told us he was going to lean on the players to make plays and in that situation he did exactly that. When you have a coach like that it definitely makes you go out there and fight for him and execute in those situations.”
From there it was all up to the players to go out and execute. Daniel Jones flicked a shovel pass to Barkley, who made a defender miss as he dove into the end zone to give the team the lead and eventually the win.
This play will be on replay in Giants fans heads all victory Monday! pic.twitter.com/pwbGrFZv30— Michael “Muggsy” Parra (@MuggsyParra) September 12, 2022
During his appearances on the 2nd Wind podcast and The Pivot, Barkley consistently delivered the message that this was his season to prove the doubters wrong. While this might have been a monster performance, Barkley has his sights set on the bigger picture.
“As I look at it, obviously at the end of the day I’m excited to get the win but personally just got to keep coming in.” Barkley said. “Something that Coach Dabs says is just enjoy the process. And that’s something I haven’t done in the last few years with rehabbing and injuries. That’s been my mindset so no matter what, win, loss, tie I’m going to come here with the same mindset and just keep enjoying the process and coming to work every single day.”
Barkley had a 68-yard run to ignite the offense with the Giants trailing, 13-0, in the third quarter, and a 33-yard run on the eventual game-winning fourth-quarter drive.
Teammates couldn’t help but take notice and enjoy the show Barkley put on. Quarterback Daniel Jones had a front-row seat.
“It was fun. A lot of fun. You saw the explosiveness. It was fun to watch him,” Jones said. “He’s had a great camp. Seeing where he’s come from, he’s battled back from a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries. And to get out here and do what he did today was a lot of fun to watch. As a teammate, and as a friend.”
After two injury-filled seasons and many questioning if he could ever replicate his dynamic play from earlier in his career this was a massive start to his fifth-year campaign. After hearing all the talk about his running style Barkley quieted the critics for a week. Most importantly, Barkley helped guide the Giants to a 1-0 record.
You can see the relationship Daboll and Barkley have built on full display which lead to a nice gesture post-game with Barkley giving Daboll a game ball.
“It’s exciting. It’s new here. We have a lot of things we can we can do better, obviously at the end of the day we were able to come out of here with a win.”Barkley stated “That’s the most important thing. So we’re excited. We appreciate him. That’s what he deserved a game ball.”
Daboll also returned the love with some praise for Barkley post-game.
“I’m glad 26 is on our team.”
After a performance like this, Giants fans share the same feeling as Brian Daboll.