If Saquon Barkley is just now seeing the field better, look out for a special second half of what has already been a record-setting rookie campaign.
His most recent performance, which included 27 carries for 142 yards and three total touchdowns, garnered nominations for multiple awards, including "FedEx Ground Player of the Week" and "Pepsi Rookie of the Week" in the wake of the Giants' 38-35 win over the Buccaneers.
Barkley helped the team to its first winning streak since 2016 and its highest point total since a memorable quarterback duel between Eli Manning and Drew Brees in New Orleans the year before that.
"I think he has gotten better every week," Manning said. "That's what you ask everyone to do, and I thought [Sunday] was the best he ran. He had a better tempo. He was hitting the holes fast and was running hard. He was close to breaking a couple of long ones, but he was just efficient. He has been great the past games. He works hard. We missed him on the one third down down the sideline, so we will work on that one and make sure we hit it."
That one pass was Manning's only incompletion on a day that began with three consecutive runs to No. 26. They went for eight, one and six yards before Manning popped a 41-yard pass to Odell Beckham Jr., setting up Barkley's seven-yard touchdown catch on the opening drive. Barkley scored twice more on runs of five and two yards, becoming the first Giants rookie with a rushing and a receiving touchdown in the same game since Butch Woolfolk on Dec. 5, 1982.
"Oh, it's a huge luxury [to have a running back like Barkley]," coach Pat Shurmur said. "He's an outstanding player and when you can throw it to him and hand it to him, that makes things terrific. He's had a positive contribution in our three victories, and he's gotten better in each of the other games. It's great for the New York Football Giants if Saquon's with us."
Barkley now has 1,268 scrimmage yards (728 rushing, 540 receiving) and 10 touchdowns (seven rushing, three receiving) in his first 10 career games. He became the sixth player in NFL history to record at least 1,200 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns in their first 10 games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk, and Ezekiel Elliott, Adrian Peterson and Billy Sims.
"I will never be satisfied, but other than that, I definitely feel like I'm getting better throughout the year," Barkley said. "Plays are becoming clearer to me. I'm seeing the field a lot better. I'm seeing the game better with the help of Eli and all the vets on the team. But I still have way, way more to improve on."
For 16 years, FedEx has been recognizing the top quarterbacks and running backs who fans believe deliver the best performances for their fans and teammates each week. Make your call for the "FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week" by voting now. 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. Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys and Gus Edwards were also nominated for this week's FedEx award, which Barkley is looking to win for the first time.
Meanwhile, the second overall draft pick has been a mainstay on the nomination list for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week Award, which he won in Week 6 for his 229 yards from scrimmage against the Eagles.
Here is a look at this week's rookie nominees:
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants: The running back had 152 scrimmage yards (142 rushing, 10 receiving) and three touchdowns in the Giants' 38-35 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints: The wide receiver had 10 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown in the Saints' 48-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos: The running back had 106 scrimmage yards (79 rushing, 27 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Broncos' 23-22 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens: The running back rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' 24-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: The quarterback passed for 150 yards and rushed for 117 yards in the Ravens' 24-21 win over the Bengals.