While the Giants are playing for peanuts, they can at least take solace in knowing that their star running back has returned to his dominant form.
After posting 112 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Miami Dolphins, the second-year rusher carved open the Washington Redskins for 279 total yards (189 rushing, 90 receiving) in a 41-35 overtime victory.
Sunday’s victory also featured the return of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, went off for 352 yards passing and five touchdowns — including the game-winner to Kaden Smith from three yards out.
While Jones’ day was stupendous, it was a reassuring return to form for Barkley, who had struggled mightily since coming back from a high-ankle sprain that held him out for three games from Weeks 3-6.
It took Barkley just one half and nine carries to eclipse the 100-rushing-yard mark for the second-straight game.
A 67-yard touchdown rush with 6:46 in the first quarter highlighted a blistering start from both sides, which featured touchdowns on the first five possessions of the game.
It was the first time since 2004 that that has happened during an NFL game.
The Giants emerged from that five-possession track meet on top 21-14 when Jones hit Barkley for a 33-yard touchdown pass with nine minutes to go in the second.
New York would nab another touchdown, a 10-yard connection from Jones to Cody Latimer with 38 seconds to go in the half to take a two-touchdown lead into the break.
The third quarter would see Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins go down with an ankle injury that forced him out of the game. In stepped Case Keenum, who cut the Giants lead to seven with 6:38 in the third quarter after a seven-yard pass to Steven Sims.
Barkley would help the Giants answer right back three minutes later when he broke open a screen pass for 51 yards to set up Kaden Smith’s nine-yard touchdown.
The 14-point lead was an invitation for head coach Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator James Bettcher to take their foot off the proverbial gas pedal as the Giants’ conservative ways let the Redskins right back into it.
A blocked punt and pass interference on the Giants gave the Redskins the ball on the Giants’ 1-yard-line, which led to an Adrian Peterson touchdown to cut it back to seven.
The Giants responded by remaining passive, opting not to go for it on a fourth-and-short, and try a long field goal which the struggling Aldrick Rosas missed with 11 minutes to play.
It led to the Redskins’ tying score in the final minute as Keenum’s one-yard rush with 37 seconds left capped off a 99-yard drive and sent things to overtime.