The raw data is 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 four times for 7 yards in the second half and the Giants were outscored 14-3. Did the game caller Pat Shurmur lose his head?
Well, no. But he also did not have his best moment.
The game escaped the Giants on offense more than Shurmur escaped from Barkley. There were only four real offensive possessions: we can discount the Giants who get the ball with 22 seconds remaining. In the first series, Barkley ran for 3 yards in the first down down and Eli Manning was fired in the second down, establishing a third and 18 abandonment runs for Barkley. Then, there is nothing to see here.
In 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 disaster. False start on Nate Solder, Corey Coleman's horrible pass, 3 yards loss by Gallman on a play in which Jamon Brown was called to stay, setting up another third and 18. You can make the silly argument that Barkley should never take a series, but Gallman did not ruin this possession.
The third series is where Shurmur receives bad reviews. The Giants went 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 that Shepard was retained) and then the third mandatory – and 10 sacks, while Chris Long danced around right tackle Chad Wheeler.
"Yes, I understand, I called three consecutive passes," Shurmur said later. "A couple of other series that I called a pair run."
In the fourth series, the Giants lost 22-19 and Barkley got two career attempts, losing 1 yard and earning 1 yard, the Eagles adjusted clearly after their problems in the first half to stop the rookie. The penalty for delay in the game did not help and the series ended with Beckham who was retained by Cre'Von LeBlanc, did not receive the call and the Giants were satisfied with a field goal.
The main problem? The Giants only had 21 offensive plays in the second half. Barkley became more for the deficiencies of his companions than for Shurmur.