The reason Saquon Barkley vanished in 2nd half vs. Eagles

The raw data are incriminating. Saquon Barkley ran the ball nine times for 94 yards in the first half in Philadelphia and the Giants outscored the Eagles 19-11 on Sunday. Barkley ran it just four times for 7 yards in the second half and the Giants were outscored 14-3. Did play-caller Pat Shurmur lose his mind?

Well, no. But he did not have his finest moment, either.

The game got away from the Giants on offense more than Shurmur got away from Barkley. There were only four real offensive possessions — we can discount the Giants getting the ball with 22 seconds remaining. On the first series, Barkley ran for 3 yards on first down and Eli Manning was sacked on second down, setting up a third-and-18 give-up run for Barkley. So, nothing to see here.

On the second series, Shurmur gave Barkley a rest and put Wayne Gallman on the field. Gallman ran for 5 and 7 yards, but the rest of the series was a hot mess. False start on Nate Solder, awful dropped pass by Corey Coleman, loss of 3 yards by Gallman on a play in which Jamon Brown was called for holding, setting up another third-and-18. You can make the silly argument Barkley should never get a series off, but this possession was not ruined by Gallman.

The third series is where Shurmur gets bad reviews. The Giants were ahead 19-14 near the end of the third quarter, and what followed were three consecutive passes, all incomplete: Deep to Odell Beckham Jr., wide of Sterling Shepard (the Giants insist Shepard was held) and then the obligatory third-and-10 sack, as Chris Long danced around right tackle Chad Wheeler.

“Yeah, I get it, I called three straight passes,” Shurmur said afterward. “A couple of other series I called a couple runs.”

On the fourth series, the Giants trailed 22-19 and Barkley got two rushing attempts, losing 1 yard and gaining 1 yard, the Eagles clearly adjusting after their first-half troubles stopping the rookie. A delay-of-game penalty did not help and the series ended with Beckham getting held by Cre’Von LeBlanc, not getting the call and the Giants settling for a field goal.

The main problem? The Giants had only 21 offensive plays in the second half. Barkley was done in more by the deficiencies of his teammates than by Shurmur.

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