Saquon Barkley didn’t have to look up his stats to prove he wasn’t a Pro Bowl running back in 2019. The NFL‘s reigning offensive rookie of the year took a major step backward in his sophomore season –178 carries for 722 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games, averaging just 4.1 yards per carry.
While Barkley won’t admit it, his ankle sprain appeared to have plenty to do with his decline in production. Barkley had two 100-yard rushing games before the injury and could not get his third one until his eighth game back from the injury. He has just 45 catches for 323 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.2 yards per catch.
Those are good numbers, but nowhere close to Pro Bowl-caliber.
“It’s not the end all be all. I don’t think that I was even anywhere close or deserved to being in the Pro Bowl. Not shocked at that,” Barkley said, via a Giants transcript. “Does it motivate me? No. What motivates me is that we’re going home in two weeks. That’s the only motivation that I have. We’re not in the playoff run, we’re not having the chance of the playoffs. That’s going to be my motivation this offseason.”
Barkley returned from his high-ankle injury after only missing three games — beating his original 6-8 week diagnosis. He had 24 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Miami Dolphins Sunday, his best game since his return and his first rushing touchdown since Week 7. Since coming back to the lineup, Barkley has 141 carries for 485 yards and two rushing touchdowns, averaging 3.4 yards per carry. He has 34 catches for 249 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.3 yards per catch.
Those numbers are upsetting, but so is the Giants 3-11 record as the team is set to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year. New York is 8-22 in the 30 games Barkley has been with the team — hardly postseason worthy.
“It’s been tough. Not just because of lack of the production but just because we’re not winning games,” Barkley said. “We’re 3-11. Obviously, we have a chance of going 5-11, that’s not what we wanted for the season, that’s not what any team who has a losing record wanted for this season. That’s the outcome of it, that’s something we’re not happy with, definitely not satisfied with, definitely have got to work on.
“The production doesn’t matter. I had one of the best seasons ever last year for a rookie running back. That didn’t matter last year at all. We went 5-11. All of those yards, when they come from five wins, don’t mean nothing. I think if you ask any talented or any player who is productive, the only thing that matters to them is the wins. Because at the end of the day it’s that trophy that everyone wants. Not the rookie of the year trophy, MVP trophy, or any of those trophies.”