EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)Saquon Barkley was about to answer a question about the current touchdown drought for the New York Giants’ offense when he stopped to verify the length of the dry spell.
“Two hundred minutes?” the star running back said Thursday after the the Giants (1-5) practiced for Sunday’s home game against the Washington Commanders.
The exact amount is 205 minutes. The offense last found the end zone on an 8-yard run by Matt Breida early the second half against San Francisco on Sept. 21.
Over the last three games, New York has scored 28 points on seven field goals and an extra point by Graham Gano and a 102-yard interception return by safety Jason Pinnock. For the season, the Giants have a league-low 71 points.
Barkley has had a hand in the drought. He missed the games against San Francisco, Seattle and Miami with a high ankle sprain. He returned against Buffalo and the offense made it to the red zone five times, resulting in three field goals. Each half ended with the Giants failing to get in from the 1-yard line as time ran out.
“It’s simple,” Barkley said. “We’re not executing, we’re not doing what we need to do. We get into the red zone, we have self-inflicting wounds, whether it’s penalties or it’s MAs (missed assignments), you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. I go back and I watch against the Bills, there’s a run that I slipped on and if I keep my feet, it won’t be 200 minutes.”
There are other problems, starting with an offensive line decimated by injuries. Star left tackle Andrew Thomas has not played since the opening game of the season because of a hamstring injury. Rookie center John Michael Schmitz has missed the last two with a shoulder injury and guards Ben Bredeson and Mark Glowinski have missed time because of a concussion and poor play, respectively.
Backups Josh Ezeudu (sprained toe) and Shane Lemiuex (torn biceps) filled in and ended up on injured reserve.
Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said he is looking at everything to get the offense going, including the play-calling.
“I’m really critical of myself on all those things, too,” he said. “We practice it, we talk about it, we had some opportunities. We had five opportunities down there; we weren’t able to get into the end zone, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. We got some opportunities, now we’ve got to capitalize on them.”
Veteran Tyrod Taylor got the start at quarterback last week against the Bills because Daniel Jones hurt his neck against Miami on Oct. 8. Taylor will probably go again Sunday since Jones has not been cleared for contact.
While Taylor threw for 200 yards against the Bills, he also audibled out of a pass play at the Bills 1 at the end of the first half. Barkley was stopped for no gain and the Giants didn’t run another play.
“It just kind of goes back to coach-to-quarterback communication. I’ve got to do a better job there,” Kafka said.
Rookie receiver Jalin Hyatt, a third-round draft pick, said the wideouts have been talking about the drought a lot this week.
“We are definitely not happy about it at all,” Hyatt said. “We’re into the season now so we’ve got to step up. We’ve been emphasizing this here throughout the week, red-zone plays. We gotta get on the bus and score. Defense is playing lights out. We score last week, we could win the game. We all know that.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl