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Giants RB Saquon Barkley concedes recent struggles, aims to make plays ‘when it matters most’

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The New York Giants’ late-season swoon has mirrored the struggles of running back Saquon Barkley.

Through the first nine weeks, Barkley rushed for 931 yards on 198 totes (4.7 yards per attempt) with six touchdowns as Big Blue got off to a 7-3 start. But in the past four games, he’s been held under 65 yards each contest, totaling 152 yards and two scores on 53 carries (2.87 YPA). The Giants have gone 0-3-1 in that span.

Ahead of Sunday night’s rematch against the Washington Commanders, Barkley said he has to get back to making plays.

“My perspective on that is: Try to make a change. Try to be helpful. Try to make plays. That’s where I feel like I’ve got to get back to,” Barkley said, via the New York Post. “I feel like I’ve been lacking the last couple of weeks — being the guy, and making explosive plays, especially when it matters most.”

Barkley has been dealing with shoulder and neck injuries. In Week 14’s blowout loss to Philly, he took just nine totes and played a season-low 20 snaps as the game got out of hand. Barkley is off the injury report this week.

The running back insisted the injuries weren’t the cause of his recent struggles.

“No, not because of being banged up,” Barkley said. “It’s just the truth. I haven’t had a big run in a long time. The last couple of weeks, the run game has been — I don’t want to say nonexistent, but they’ve been doing a really good job of stopping the run game — or, necessarily, stopping me.”

In the Week 13 tie against Washington, Barkley generated 63 yards on 18 carries with a TD, including a game-high 21-yard scamper and a 13-yard touchdown run. On his 16 other carries, the RB netted a piddling 29 yards (1.8 YPC).

A virtual playoff game between the NFC East rivals, the Giants need Barkley to generate explosive plays and keep the offense in better down and distances versus a good Commanders defensive line. A hoard of 1- and 2-yard gains like we’ve seen in recent weeks could spell doom for New York’s chances of reaching the postseason.

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