There’s a lot of statistics in the NFL, and sometimes you can boil a game down to one of them. The New York Giants’ season opener, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is one of those games. There’s a lot of takes to be had here. You can say the Giants allowed Big Ben to pass too much on them. Or that Daniel Jones shouldn’t have turned over the ball. But if you really want to get to the bottom of the result, look no further than one statistic.
That stat is Saquon Barkley’s rushing yards – only six. That sounds like hyperbole, but that’s not the case. Barkley really did only have six yards, and it’s not entirely his fault. The offensive line didn’t do him favors in this game, though that was expected to a certain extent.
The Giants were debuting a new offensive line in this game, after all. And one of the players they intended to have around as a starter, Nate Solder, opted out before the season. There’s valid reasons to complain about Solder’s play, but the line didn’t improve without him there.
Saquon Barkley’s take on the situation
Barkley usually takes the high road with reporters and that’s what he did following this result. He praised the Steelers defense, leaving out any remarks about the blocking.
“Iâ€™m not really too concerned with the stats. You have to give credit where credit is due. They have a great defense, especially their defensive front. They made some plays and we werenâ€™t able to win the game today,” Barkley told the media.
He also claims that watching film will prevent the large number of backfield hits from being repeated next game.
“We just have to go back and watch the film and learn. Something Iâ€™m proud about with the team today is the way we fought, especially when we were hit with adversity. We just have to go back and watch film, continue to believe in each and come ready to work next week and get ready for Chicago.”
A better showing in week two at Chicago?
There’s a reason not to panic yet, however. Like Barkley claimed, the Steelers do have one of the top defenses in the league. Their defensive front was a concern heading into this game. Most games won’t be like this one, against a team like Pittsburgh. The Giants were also playing their first game under a new head coach, as well as a new offensive coordinator. Hiccups usually happen in games like this.
However, the Giants should have one thing in mind in week two: getting Saquon Barkley more rushing yardage. There’s only so many weapons the Giants have on offense, and a key to victory will be ensuring that they use all of them properly.
Against Pittsburgh, Barkley hardly had a chance to shine. And that showed in the final result.