EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Saquon Barkley is on pace to easily outdistance the Giants’ record for receptions in a season. And he might not even lead the team in that statistical category.
The sensational rookie from Penn State has 58 catches in eight games, which leads all NFL rookies and projects to 116 for the entire 2018 season. That would shatter the current franchise single-season mark of l07 set by Steve Smith in 2009.
As impressive as Barkley’s pass-catching has been, he trails Odell Beckham, Jr., who has 61 catches and is on pace to finish with 122.
That would still leave Beckham 21 receptions shy of the NFL record of 143, set by Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison in 2002.
Barkley, however, is on track to break several rookie records.
He has already obliterated the Giants’ previous 50-year-old record for most receptions by a rookie running back, which was 37 by Bobby Duhon in 1968.
Barkley has a chance to zoom past four more receptions records: most catches by a rookie running back (88 by Reggie Bush in 2006); most catches by a running back (102 by Matt Forte in 2014); most catches by an NFL rookie (101 by Anquan Boldin in 2003); and most catches by a Giants rookie (91 by Beckham in 2014).
Barkley will enter the Giants’ game Monday night in San Francisco having caught nine passes in each of his previous three games. He is the first player in franchise history to do that. The only other NFL player to do that this season is New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas. Barkley is the first running back to accomplish the beat since the Rams’ Steven Jackson in 2006.
Barkley has 497 receiving yards. If he matches that total in the second half of the season, he will finish with 994 and break three more records: most receiving yards by an NFL rookie running back (874 by Terry Kirby in 1993); most receiving yards by a Giants running back (768 by Frank Gifford in 1959; Gifford had 796 in 1962, but that season had only two rushing attempts and was mostly a wide receiver, so the Elias Sports Bureau considers the 1959 number as the record); and most receiving yards by a Giants rookie running back (531 by Dave Meggett in 1989). Beckham’s Giants rookie record of 1,305 yards is likely out of reach.
Of course, Barkley does more than catch the ball. He also leads the Giants with 519 rushing yards, which projects to 1,038 for the season. The highest total by a rookie in franchise history is Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans’ 830 yards in 1936. Barkley needs 140 yards to tie Tucker Frederickson (1965) for fifth place on the team’s rookie list.
Barkley has a chance to finish the season with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards. He would be only the third player in NFL history to accomplish that statistical double, joining San Francisco’s Roger Craig in 1985 (1,050 rushing, 1,016 receiving) and the Rams’ Marshall Faulk, a Hall of Famer, in 1999 (1,381 rushing, 1,048 receiving).
Barkley also leads the Giants with seven touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving). The Giants’ rookie record is 12, set by Bill Paschal in 1943 and tied by Beckham four years ago.
Paschal also holds the franchise rookie record with 10 rushing touchdowns. Barkley, of course, is on track to tie that mark. But first he must pass Brandon Jacobs (2005) and Andre Williams (2014), who each had seven.
Barkley is third in the NFL and leads all rookies with 1,016 yards from scrimmage, trailing only the Rams’ Todd Gurley (1,230) and Pittsburgh’s James Conner (1,085).
While the Giants were on their bye last week, Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott moved atop the list of players who have the highest percentage of their team’s rushing and receiving yards this season:
|HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF TEAM’S RUSHING/RECEIVING YARDS|
|Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas||906||2690||33.7|
|Saquon Barkley, Giants||1016||3057||33.2|
|James Conner, Pittsburgh||1085||3395||32.0|
|David Johnson, Arizona||601||2012||29.9|
|Todd Gurley, Rams||1230||4127||29.0|
*Beckham is sixth in the NFL with 785 receiving yards (one yard behind Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans). He is on pace to finish with 1,570 yards, which would be a franchise record. Victor Cruz holds the mark with 1,536 yards in 2011.
*Beckham’s 136 yards in the Giants’ Oct. 28 game vs. Washington moved him past Tiki Barber (5,183 yards) and into third place on the Giants’ career list. Hall of Famer Frank Gifford is second with 5,434, and Amani Toomer is first with 9,497.
Players to watch in the second half of 2018
The Giants enter the Week 9 bye with a 1-7 record and half the season done. Heading into the second half of the season, here are the players to watch out for.