Giants’ Barkley in rar­i­fied air as rookie

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Sports - By Tom Cana­van AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. (AP) >> There seems to be no limit to Saquon Barkley’s up­side.

Just when it seems the New York Giants’ rookie run­ning back has shown just about ev­ery­thing he can do on the foot­ball field, the sec­ond pick over­all in the NFL draft finds another way to im­press peo­ple.

Take a look at Sun­day’s’ 30-27 over­time win over the NFC North­lead­ing Chicago Bears.

While Barkley failed to score for only the fourth time 12 games, he rushed for 125 yards on 24 car­ries and helped set up 13 points.

His 22-yard run on a thir­dand-23 draw play set up a team­record 57-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas on the fi­nal play of the half. The play that had ev­ery­one talk­ing was his 17-yard catch and run that ended with his hur­dle over for­mer Penn State team­mate Adrian Amos. It led to a 1-yard touch­down pass from Eli Man­ning to Odell Beck­ham Jr .

Fi­nally, there was his 29-yard run on the first play from scrim­mage in the over­time. Rosas capped the drive with a 44-yard field goal that pro­vided the win­ning mar­gin when the Giants’ de­fense stopped Chicago on the fi­nal se­ries.

“I said it early and I re­ally be­lieve it, he’s got a gen­er­a­tional spirit in terms of how he com­petes, and I have not been — WE have not been — dis­ap­pointed in (any) way,” coach Pat Shur­mur said of Barkley on Mon­day. “He’s ex­tremely tal­ented run­ning the ball, catch­ing the ball, he blocks well, we’re do­ing what we can to give himthe foot­ball so he has an im­pact on the game, and I think he has.”

Barkley’s sta­tis­tics are im­pres­sive.

His 954 yards rush­ing are third in the NFL be­hind Todd Gur­ley (1,175) of the Rams and Ezekiel El­liott (1,150) of the Cow­boys. He has ex­ceeded 100 yards

from scrim­mage in 11 of 12 games and his 100-yard game rush­ing Sun­day was his third in a row and fifth of the sea­son.

Catch­ing three passes for 21 yards also gave Barkley 74 catches, ty­ing tight end Jeremy Shockey (2002) for the sec­ond-high­est to­tal by a Giants rookie. Beck­ham. holds the fran­chise rookie record with 91 in 2014.

Barkley has down­played his sta­tis­tics all sea­son, but he knows the sig­nif­i­cance of run­ning for 1,000 yards. He would need 46 yards Sun­day against Wash­ing­ton to hit the mark.

“It would be spe­cial be­cause ob­vi­ously one, it’s the NFL, and two, when you get 1,000 yards, it’s not just your­self get­ting 1,000 yards, it’s your team get­ting 1,000 yards. It’s the of­fense and es­pe­cially the of­fen­sive line,” Barkley said.

The biggest ad­just­ment Barkley has had tomake this sea­son is deal­ing with los­ing. New York was 1-7. It has now won three of four since its bye week, in­clud­ing Sun­day’s game in­which it blewa 10-point lead in the fi­nal 1:13 of the fourth quar­ter.

How­ever, the Giants found a way to win in over­time.

“It just put ev­ery­thing in per­spec­tive from all the hard work that we’ve been putting in all sea­son to go out there and beat a re­ally good team and who was play­ing lights out up to that game or even in that game, they played re­ally well, too,” Barkley said. “Def­i­nitely gives you con­fi­dence, and hasn’t even been though go­ing the how sea­son we want it to go. Barkley now has 1,556 yards from scrim­mage, so he needs 444 yards to be­come the third rookie in league his­tory to reach 2,000 yards from scrim­mage. Eric Dick­er­son set the record of 2,212 in 1983, while Edger­rin James had 2,139 in 1981. Barkley said it’s hard to de­scribe some of the things he does on the field. The jump over Amos was on in­stinct. “Some things you can’t ex­plain and I give a lot of credit to God in a sit­u­a­tion like that, my ge­net­ics, my mom and dad,” the 21-yearold Barkley said. “But a lot of that is also hard work, train­ing my body to when you’re put in those po­si­tions to be able to make those cuts and make those moves.” NOTES: Giants start­ing LB Tae Davis had a walk­ing boot on his left foot (an­kle). ... WR Ster­ling Shep­ard (ribs) said an MRI showed tis­sue dam­age. He ex­pects to play Sun­day.

BILL KOSTROUN - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

New York Giants run­ning back Saquon Barkley (26) leaps over Chicago Bears strong safety Adrian Amos (38) dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NFL foot­ball game, Sun­day, Dec. 2, 2018, in East Ruther­ford, N.J.

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