The story for the Giants over the past couple of years seems to have many consistencies. From a hopeful yet ultimately disappointing 11-5 season in 2016 to the disastrous 3-13 finish of last year, the themes seem to be as follows: Unstable coaching, extremely underwhelming play from franchise QB Eli Manning, a shaky-at-best offensive line, pure anger and frustration from number one wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
On Thursday Night Football yesterday against the Philadelphia Eagles, we got a truly characteristic performance. Eli played like… well he played like Eli. It’s less about him missing throws, it almost appears as if he doesn’t even feel confident throwing the ball downfield (coach Pat Shurmur was caught by cameras on the sideline appearing to yell “THROW THE BALL” at one point.)
In the 2nd half every completion was under 7.2 yards, save the last throw of the game. Hell, we even got a vintage 2016 Odell Beckham frustration performance on the sideline as he went head-to-head with another helpless inanimate object. Odell had 6 catches in the game, the longest of which was 12 yards. No touchdowns. There is one difference however this year, and that difference is Saquon Barkley. The first round draft pick out of Penn State is an absolute machine. He runs with pure tenacity and tosses defenders aside as if they are low-level henchman in a superhero video game. In the second quarter, on their own 30 yard line, he was thrown the ball on a screen behind the line of scrimmage and romped for 55 yards, breaking through multiple defenders and cutting all the way across the field to the opposite sideline. It was reminicent of Beast-Mode, when Lynch was in his prime with the Seahawks. Honestly, throwing Saquon the ball in the flat appears to be the best play call for the Giants. He was their top receiver Thursday night, with 99 yards on 9 receptions. He also rushed for 130 yards, on just 13 carries, giving him 229 all-purpose yards for the day. And still… The Giants scored just 13 points, losing in a landslide to Philly – 34-13 And that’s just it. As good as Barkley is, it is clearly not enough to save the New York Giants. Through six games Barkley has: 6 TD’s, 438 rushing yds, and 373 receiving yds. Meanwhile, the Giants are at the bottom of their division with an abysmal 1-5 record. The drama seems weekly, with seemingly nonstop reports of OBJ and other teammates publicly voicing their lack of confidence in Eli.
In retrospect, maybe the Giants should’ve drafted one of the emerging rookie QB talents in lieu of Barkley, transitioning into what is a clearly needed QB change. However, it is incredibly entertaining to sit back and watch their only reliable asset shred defenses against all odds, and with no regard for their ankles or their feelings. I guess we just have to hope that by the end of this incredible rookie outing, the living dumpster fire that is the 2018 New York Giants haven’t run Barkley and his tree-trunk sized calves completely into the ground.
Contributing Journalist: Max Baldwin