After tearing his ACL last year against the Bears in week two, Saquon Barkley looked to make his comeback in game one of the new campaign against the Broncos. While it was a rough game all around for the Giants, Barkley was able to get some runs in. Hopefully, he will get more carries as the season progresses.
Saquon’s Stat Line
Being in the game for 48% of the snaps, he only had ten attempts at carrying the rock. On top of his ten rushing attempts, Daniel Jones threw the ball to him once. With that one catch, all he could get was one yard. Throughout his ten rushes, he only mustered a mere 26 yards with his longest rush being five yards. While it was more than his backup Devontae Booker, who had seven yards, he was not the leading rusher. Jones only eclipsed Barkley by one. With 61 snaps by the Giants’ offense, rushing attempts made up for a third at 20. Barkley had half of those attempts.
The Impact on the Passing Game
Obviously, with no solid running game, it hurt the Giants. It forced them to pass thirty-seven times, which is more than what most Giants fans would like. While this could easily be looked at as Barkley needing a limited-usage game to get back into the swing of things, it could also be looked at as him losing a bit of explosiveness. This is the main part of Barkley’s game, meaning it is crucial for him to get this back to take pressure off of Danny Dimes and the Giants’ passing game.
Will Saquon Return to his Former Self?
After an ACL injury, it is hard for running backs to return and be the same. However, Barkley is in an elite category of running backs. That being said, he has a better chance than most to return from an ACL tear. While it’s still early in his career, it could be compared to Adrian Peterson‘s ACL injury and how he bounced back with a historic year. The odds are Barkley won’t be able to bounce back as strong as Peterson. He still should be close to his former self, though.
What also didn’t help Barkley was that this seemed like a rehab game. There were many chances that were inside the red zone and downs where he should have gotten the ball. It seemed as though head coach Joe Judge was keeping Barkley in a very small role. It was different from his role during the 2019 season. This was especially present in the red zone and third-down chances when Joe Judge didn’t hand the ball to Barkley.
While it seemed as though Saquon lost a little bit of explosiveness, once he is ready to rock at 100% he should be once again a top running back in the league. The only issue is that we don’t know how long until the snap counts and carry limits are lifted and he can go full force again. Giants fans can hope that their All-Pro running back comes back to full form sooner rather than later.