EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s struggles reached new depths Sunday when he had a career-low one rushing yard on 13 carries in a 34-27 loss to the New York Jets. He also failed to effectively block Jets safety Jamal Adams on a pair of sack/fumbles in the contest.
Barkley’s previous low in a game he played from start to finish was 28 yards, which occurred last week against the Cowboys and Week 2 of his rookie season. His longest run against the Jets went for three yards. Barkley had four rushes that went for negative yards in the contest.
Barkley was “banged up” in Sunday’s game, according to coach Pat Shumur. He was seen by reporters entering the X-ray room following the loss.
“Jets played a hell of a game. They’re a hell of a defense,” Barkley said. “Going into the game they were only averaging [allowing] 3.1 yards per carry. They did an amazing job. I reached out to [defensive coordinator Greg] Williams. Shook his hand and said, ‘good job.'”
When asked about whether the injuries were affecting his play or about the X-ray, Barkley responded: “Next question.”
Jamal Adams wrestles the ball away from Daniel Jones with authority and takes off the other way for a 25-yard touchdown.
It has been a struggle for Barkley ever since returning from a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 3. He’s averaging just 2.6 yards per carry in the four games since.
There was a moment early in the second quarter when Barkley grabbed at his left leg after an incomplete pass thrown in his direction. He was taken off the field for one play, then returned without a limp.
Barkley’s previous injury was to his right ankle. Regardless, the Pro Bowl running back isn’t passing the eye test at this point. There may be reasons beyond the struggles of the Giants’ offensive line, which finished the game with three backups on the field.
“[Barkley] got banged up a little bit [Sunday], so I don’t know,” Shurmur said. “I’m sure that contributes. We’ll look at it as we go. He got banged around pretty good.”
There were moments when Barkley was on the field that he was ineffective. It showed up on two costly plays with his blocking.
Barkley was dominated by Adams on the sack/fumbles, with the second resulting in an Adams touchdown.
“Jamal Adams beat me. Simple as that. He’s a heck of a player. All-Pro,” Barkley said. “Didn’t really want to switch jerseys with him after the game. Jokingly told him that. One of my good friends. One of my boys. Hell of a player. Much respect to him. I got to be better there.”
Barkley and the Giants (2-8) are entering their bye week sputtering and not at 100 percent. This gives them time to heal.
Starting wide receiver Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram, right tackle Mike Remmers and center Jon Halapio all missed Sunday’s game because of injury. Left tackle Nate Solder exited in the second quarter with a concussion.
“Only thing I got to focus on is just coming in and trying to be the player I can for my team,” Barkley said. “Just focus on the bye week. It’s a week where everyone can get a chance to get healthier, not only myself but the whole team. We get to reflect on our season so far. Just try to be a better team than we were in the first half.”
The Giants enter their bye week on a six-game skid. It has everyone searching for answers.
“I mean, like, I don’t know. Yes, frustration, disappointment, anger. Everything you said,” Barkley said. “No one wants to be 2-8. No one wants to have a losing record. I don’t know, yes. Everyone is upset. Everyone is frustrated.”