EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – As he ran through and around NFL defenses during a debut season that earned him the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, Saquon Barkley seemed poised to one day dominate the rushing yardage section in the Giants' record book.
That process slowed when he missed playing time with injuries in each of the next three seasons, most notably with a torn ACL in 2020 that limited him to five quarters and 19 carries.
Barkley is healthy again and his twin assaults on both Giants opponents and the franchise's records have returned with the same fury he demonstrated four years ago.
In the Giants' season-opening 21-20 victory in Tennessee on Sunday, Barkley rushed for 164 yards on 18 carries (9.1-yard avg.), including a 68-yarder to set up his four-yard touchdown run, caught a team-high six passes for 30 yards and scored the game-deciding points on a two-point conversion reception with 1:06 remaining.
Barkley's 164 rushing yards and 194 yards from scrimmage were both the highest totals in the NFL in Week 1.
His 9.1-yards per-carry average was the highest by a Giants player with at least 18 rushing attempts since Dec. 30, 2006, when Tiki Barber averaged 10.2 yards (23 carries for 234 yards) at Washington in his final regular-season game.
Barkley's 164 rushing yards were exactly double that of Tennessee's two-time NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry. Primarily because of that, the Giants outrushed the Titans, 238-93. The 145-yard difference was the largest in the Giants' favor since Dec. 31, 2017, when they owned a 260-61 advantage on the ground against Washington.
Barkley's 100-yard game was the 13th of his career. That ties him with Brandon Jacobs for fourth on the Giants' career list, four behind Rodney Hampton.
Barkley scored the 20th rushing touchdown of his career, placing him in a three-way tie for 11th in Giants history with Doug Kotar and Eddie Price. Bill Paschal is 10th with 26.
With his 164 rushing yards, Barkley pushed his career total to 3,101 yards. He is the 12th player in history to run for more than 3,000 yards in a Giants uniform and he is just 31 yards behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans (3,132).
Barkley also has 196 career receptions for 1,512 yards. On Sunday, he became the eighth player in Giants history with at least 3,000 rushing yards and 100 receptions, as well as 3,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards. The others are Barber, Hampton, Alex Webster, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ron Johnson, Frank Gifford and Kotar.
View photos from the Giants' Week 1 win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
*In addition to Barkley's 68-yard run, Daniel Jones threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard. The Giants are the first NFL team to hit that double since the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 19, 2020. It was the first time the Giants had both a run and a pass of at least 65 yards in the same game since Dec. 31, 2005, at Oakland where Barber scampered for a franchise-record 95-yard run and Eli Manning connected with Plaxico Burress for a 78-yard completion.
*The Giants trailed at halftime Sunday, 13-0, before rallying in the second half for their one-point victory. The 13-point deficit was the largest they have overcome on the way to winning a game since Sept. 22, 2019, when they fell behind at the half, 28-10, but surged to a 32-31 victory in Tampa Bay in Jones' first game as the starting quarterback.
Both games were on the road. On Sunday, the Giants outscored the Titans in the second half, 21-7. Three years ago against the Buccaneers, their second-half scoring advantage was 22-3. Jones threw two touchdown passes, including one to Shepard, in each game.
But the most striking similarity between the games occurred at the end. On the final play in Tampa, Matt Gay pushed a potential game-winning 34-yard field goal wide right and the Giants celebrated a one-point victory. Two days ago, Randy Bullock pulled a 47-yard attempt on a game-winner wide left to secure another thrilling one-point triumph for the Giants.
*The Giants won despite getting shut out in the first half. That does not happen every week in the NFL. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since 2017, teams that fail to score a point in the first two quarters are 21-180-1.
Last season, the Giants were 1-11 when trailing at halftime and 1-12 when they were behind after three quarters.
*Brian Daboll led the Giants to victory in his first game as a head coach. The 32 current NFL lead coaches were 19-12-1 in their debuts.
Daboll is the 20th coach in Giants history (excluding Steve Owen and LeRoy Andrew co-coaching two games in 1930 and Steve Spagnuolo's four-game stint as an interim coach in 2017). Daboll's victory improved the head coaches' record in debut games to 10-8-2.
Robert Folwell (1925) - L at Providence, 14-0
Joseph Alexander (1926) - W at Hartford, 21-0
Earl Potteiger (1927) - W at Providence, 8-0
LeRoy Andrews (1929) - T at Orange, 0-0
Steve Owen/Bennie Friedman* (1930) - W at Frankford, 14-6
Steve Owen (1931) - W at Providence, 14-6
Jim Lee Howell (1954) - W at Chi. Cardinals, 41-10
Allie Sherman (1961) - L vs. St. Louis, 21-10
Alex Webster (1969) - W vs. Minnesota, 24-23
Bill Arnsparger (1974) - L vs. Washington, 13-10
John McVay (1976) - L vs. Philadelphia, 10-0
Ray Perkins (1979) - L at Philadelphia, 23-17
Bill Parcells (1983) - L vs. L.A. Rams, 16-6
Ray Handley (1991) - W vs. San Francisco, 16-14
Dan Reeves (1993) - W at Chicago, 26-20
Jim Fassel (1997) - W vs. Philadelphia, 31-17
Tom Coughlin (2004) - L at Philadelphia, 31-17
Ben McAdoo (2016) - W at Dallas, 20-19
Steve Spagnuolo** (2017) - L vs. Dallas, 30-10
Pat Shurmur (2018) - L vs. Jacksonville, 20-15
Joe Judge (2020) - L vs. Pittsburgh, 26-16
Brian Daboll (2022) at Tennessee
*Fullback Chris Myarick caught his second career touchdown pass Sunday and like the first, it covered one yard. He is the first Giants player whose first two career touchdown passes were each one yard long since another tight end, Darcy Johnson, in 2008.
*Tennessee's Dontrell Hilliard caught two touchdown passes Sunday, the first running back to do so against the Giants since the Chargers' Melvin Gordon on Oct. 8, 2017.
*Shepard's 71 receiving yards increased his career total to 3,955 yards. That moved him past Lionel Manuel (3,941) and into 16th place on the Giants' career list. Jeremy Shockey (4,228) is 15th.
*The Giants earned their 51st opening day victory on Sunday. That is the NFL's third-highest total, behind Green Bay (58) and Chicago (56).
*It was also the Giants' 51st victory in a road opener, which places them second in league history, behind Green Bay's 57.
*With their victory Sunday, the Giants matched their 2021 road victory total and ended a six-game losing streak away from MetLife Stadium.
*The Giants won their first September game since Sept. 29, 2019.
*The Giants ended a six-game losing streak on natural grass fields.