Here is one of the harsh truths about sports:
Nothing is ever as easy as we want it to be.
Last week, for instance, an entire platoon of pained Mets fans watched Edwin Diaz surrender a game-losing home run to Kurt Suzuki on a 100 mph fastball and exclaimed, as one: “Why wouldn’t he use the slider?!” Two days later, taken deep by J.T. Realmuto on a slider to tie another game in the ninth, the same brigade exclaimed in exasperation: “WHY NOT THROW THE HEATER!?!?”
Our basketball teams always run the wrong plays. Our hockey teams constantly play the wrong goalie. Our owners always hire the wrong GMs, and our GMs always acquire the wrong players, and our players always make the wrong decisions.
Or so it seems, anyway, in the throes of intense, passionate, but ultimately helpless fandom.
So this is one of the many questions that have visited Giants fans in the aftermath of Sunday’s humbling 35-17 schooling by the Cowboys in Arlington, Texas:
Why can’t Saquon Barkley get more touches?
The Giants, after all, don’t have a physical advantage in a lot of areas of this team. Sunday the defense was exposed for what it is: young, inexperienced, nowhere near ready to handle an offense as explosive as the Cowboys’. The Giants’ receiving corps is a tad on the pedestrian side right now. The offensive line is better, but won’t yet make anyone forget the old Suburbanites. Eli Manning threw for 300 yards, but still checked down more than you’d like to see.
Barkley is the one guaranteed place where the Giants will have a mismatch every single week. The first time he touched the ball Sunday — which means the first time he touched it in game action in more than eight months — he caught a short pass and fumbled it, but was rescued by his quick-acting fullback, Elijhaa Penny.
The second time, he took a handoff and ran 59 yards.
It was a stunning moment in that it immediately silenced 90,353 recently rabid fans and sent a shock wave through the Cowboys defense.
“You look up,” Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown said, “and he’s 20 yards past you. He can be something else.”
It was not a stunning moment in the sense that the Giants and the people who care about them are used to this. This is who Barkley is. This is what he does. You hear about good football offenses that can score from anywhere on the field? Barkley is a one-man band who can score from anywhere on the field.
Of course, he needs the ball in his hands to do that.
The Giants strangely forgot about Saquon Barkley
ARLINGTON, Texas — The way it started for Saquon Barkley,…
And on Sunday, there were only 10 other times when Manning handed the ball to Barkley. There were only three other times after the fumble that Manning threw it to Barkley. That’s 15 touches in all, for 139 total yards from scrimmage. To put it mildly, that left a lot of people wanting more.
Barkley, of course, wasn’t one of them because Barkley, more and more, is building a reputation as just as good a teammate as he is a running back:
“You’ve got to trust the system. You’ve got to trust your teammates.”
And he has to trust that Pat Shurmur sees what everyone else sees: In order for the Giants to go anywhere this year he has to get the ball in the hands of the best player on his roster — maybe the most skilled non-quarterback on anyone’s roster.
“You don’t go into it thinking that he’s not going to get the ball,” the Giants coach said Monday. “That’s just how the first half played out, they controlled the ball on us, kept moving the chains and we couldn’t convert.”
Eli Manning shows why hes not close to Giants biggest problem
ARLINGTON, Texas — This was a taste of just how…
It’s true the Giants had only three possessions in the second quarter, when the game truly got out of hand. It’s true that the Cowboys know as well as anyone else how important Barkley is to the Giants and game-planned precisely to try to minimize his impact, make the Giants beat them other places (which they weren’t able to do).
It’s also true that, in the game’s final spasm of competitiveness, with the Giants down 28-10 and facing third-and-2 on the Dallas 8, the Giants handed the ball to Penny, not Barkley, and then doubled down on fourth down by having Manning roll out. That ended in a fumble. That ended the day.
And ushered in the question of the day:
Why can’t Barkley get more touches?
The answer, this time, should actually be just as simple as the question: He should. As soon as possible.
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