The Steelers finished 2019 with one of the NFL’s best defenses. Coming out of Week 1, they appear to be on track to remain in that number.
Pittsburgh’s offense was responsible for the 26 points scored in the team’s first win of the season but it was the job done by the defense against Giants running back Saquon Barkley that stood out most. Barkley was held to just six yards on 15 carries for the game.
“We had a commitment. …We thought that guy was a catalyst for whatever they were going to do offensively,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said postgame, per NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Based on the box score, it’s clear that objective was met.
New York only managed 16 points in its Monday Night Football loss, and the lack of an impact from Barkley certainly played a role. In the first half, Barkley was held to a staggering negative-three rushing yards on nine carries, the fewest rushing yards by a running back with nine-plus carries in a half since Week 3 in 2007, per NFL Research. Bengals RB Rudi Johnson, who also rushed for negative-three yards, accomplished this lowlight on the road against the Seahawks.
For Barkley, his poor MNF showing will go down as the second-worst effort of his still young career; he rushed 13 times for one yard against the Jets in Week 10 last year.
The young Giants offense will need more from Barkley in 2020, particularly as second-year QB Daniel Jones continues to settle in. Efforts like Monday night will not do New York any favors in its quest for its first winning season since 2016.
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