Giants coach Pat Shurmur stated on Monday that he'd never seen Saquon Barkley run as fast as he did on his 78-yard touchdown run that put the Giants up 17-0 in the second quarter against the Redskins. The data backed it up. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Barkley hit 21.91 miles per hour during his touchdown, the fastest max speed on a rushing touchdown in the NFL this season.
Barkley finished the day with a career-high 170 rushing yards in the Giants' 40-16 win in Washington. He also became the first rookie running back in franchise history to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Barkley's standout performance has the rookie up for yet another pair of weekly awards – FedEx Ground Player of the Week and Pepsi Rookie of the Week, both of which are decided by a fan vote.
"Getting 1,000 yards in the NFL is an amazing accomplishment and being the first rookie ever for the Giants to do that is even a bigger one," Barkley said on Monday. "It's big because even though my name might go in the record book, it's not just myself – it's the offensive line play and the guys in the running back room, from active to practice squad to (injured reserve), all those guys have been a tremendous help for me throughout this year. We got that record as a whole."
For 16 years, FedEx has been recognizing the top quarterbacks and running backs with weekly awards. When the winners are announced, FedEx will donate $2,000 to the USO in each of their names through FedEx Cares. The weekly $4,000 donation will support USO Pathfinder and other programs that help service members transition back to civilian life. This is Barkley's fourth nomination – he won it in Week 11 when he also took home NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Barkley is nominated alongside Derrick Henry, whom the Giants will face this week when they host the Titans, and Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys.
As for the rookie award, it would be a bigger surprise at this point in the season if Barkley wasn't a nominee. This marks Barkley's ninth nomination of the season (he won back in Week 6). The rookie has five touchdowns from scrimmage this season of 50 or more yards, the most ever by a Giants rookie and the most by any Giants player since Odell Beckham Jr. had five in 2015. Barkley is the first NFL rookie with five 50-yard touchdowns from scrimmage since Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss in 1998. Only Billy Howton of the 1952 Green Bay Packers had more such touchdowns as a rookie (six).
"I just know that you give him a couple of touches, he's going to make something big happen out of those couple of touches, so he's a player that's special," wide receiver Sterling Shepard said on Monday. "You got to give him the ball and he can make magic happen."
The Penn State product isn't just the frontrunner for the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, an award that Beckham won in 2014 for the first time in franchise history. Barkley is very much in the running for the league's rushing title. Elliott currently leads the way with 1,262 rushing yards. Todd Gurley of the Rams is next with 1,203. Barkley checks in next with 1,124 yards on the ground.
The rookie also looks like he's headed to his first Pro Bowl. As of Dec. 5, he was fourth overall in Pro Bowl voting. Here is a look at the top vote-getters:
QB Drew Brees, New Orleans: 950,818 votes
QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City: 884,888 votes
RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams: 747,516 votes
RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants: 718,108 votes
RB James Conner, Pittsburgh: 664,897 votes
QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams: 658,150
WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh: 630,392
RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans: 582,550
WR Tyreek Hill, Kansas City: 560,994
TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City: 551,249