Saquon Barkley May Already Be Better Than Todd Gurley

Saquon Barkley May Already Be Better Than Todd Gurley

NFL

Saquon Barkley May Already Be Better Than Todd Gurley

Saquon Barkley put a flaming dumpster (also known as the New York Giants offense) on his back during Thursday Night Football.

Unfortunately, Barkley couldn’t single-handedly take down the Philadelphia Eagles.

Game takeovers are strictly for quarterbacks, as dictated by the league’s recent rule-changes. But Barkley did his best to take over the team’s 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles despite the league’s best efforts to highlight the passing game in recent years, despite Eli Manning’s incompetence, despite more outbursts and immaturity from Odell Beckham.

Barkley finished Week 6 with 13 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown with 9 receptions for 99 yards. Barkley accounted for 57 percent of the team’s yardage. Simply put, he’s an extremely hard human to tackle. At times, he’s almost impossible to tackle.

He’s more quad than human. Here’s an example.

Barkley made a 9-yard run look like 90-yard run (in part because his blocking is so bad that most running backs would would be in the end zone with that volume of broken tackles).

That is what’s most remarkable about Barkley. He’s playing in an awful offense. Heading into Week 6, the Giants were ranked 25th in the NFL in total yards per game. Manning has forgotten how to play his position, which allows defenses to stack the box with extra defenders in the name of defending Barkley. But they can’t do it, which is pretty remarkable. Good running backs don’t tend to thrive in bad offenses.

Todd Gurley, for example, couldn’t produce for the Los Angeles Rams when their offense was floundering. In 2016 under Jeff Fisher — before Sean McCoy’s golden touch changed Los Angeles — Gurley had 278 carries for 885 yards (3.2 yards per carry) for six touchdowns. He also had 43 receptions for 327 yards at 7.6 yards per reception.

Even in one of the messiest of situations in New York, Barkley is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and 8.8 yards per reception. Considering Gurley is the best running back in the NFL (outside of, perhaps, Le’Veon Bell, who isn’t in the league right now), that’s a remarkable efficiency in one of the league’s worst offenses.

No, the Giants didn’t win the game. Barkley could only do so much. And frankly, he could and should have helped them finish some of their drives in the red zone when they had to settle for a field goal. Everyone, especially a rookie, has things they need to improve.

Still, Barkley is just six games into the NFL, and he’s already proving he’s capable of more than the premier backs in the NFL. Barkley is proving he is the premier back in the NFL.

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