Saquon Barkley 'good' after playing through injury in loss

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley came out of Sunday's 48-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles feeling "pretty good" after being a game-day decision because of a neck injury.

Barkley suffered the injury, which he confirmed was a stinger, during practice this past week. He was listed as questionable for Sunday's contest, which he finished with 28 yards on nine carries.

It was the third time in the past four games Barkley had fewer than 40 yards rushing, but he said that's not a concern.

"Came out of the game pretty well [physically]," Barkley said. "Was a disappointing outcome."

The Giants (7-5-1) have won just once in their past five games. They have a massive matchup next Sunday night against the Washington Commanders that will go a long way toward deciding their playoff future. Washington enters the game with an identical record following its bye in Week 14.

Barkley said he didn't feel any worse after the game than prior. There was little doubt he will play next week against the Commanders.

"No doubt," he said confidently after logging a season-low 20 offensive snaps against the Eagles.

The Giants had planned to decrease Barkley's playing time even though he was cleared to play Sunday without any limitations. The standout running back came into the contest playing over 80% of the team's offensive snaps. He played just 32.3% of the snaps against Philadelphia.

"Yeah, I wouldn't say we had a pitch count, but I think we had a plan," Giants coach Brian Daboll said. "He came in early [Sunday] and got his treatment. He got looked at by the doctors and the medical staff.

"We were going to make sure we were being smart with him."

It has been a tough stretch for Barkley and the Giants. Barkley left the game for a few plays early in the second half after banging a shoulder.

But another reason for the low snap count was the game had gotten out of hand. Barkley was taken out of the contest late in the third quarter and didn't return in the fourth, as the Eagles entered the final stanza with a 34-14 lead.

"It was part of the game plan. Obviously, I would love to play a lot more," Barkley said. "The reason why I didn't play as much is not because my neck. They just played great. We got our ass whooped. We just have to do better as a team. It starts with the leaders, it starts with myself."

Fellow running backs Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell both saw their workloads increase. Brightwell took the second series of the contest (which hadn't occurred in any other game this season), and Breida was used as a passing-down option.

Barkley's injury occurred on an innocuous play in practice.

"Caught the ball, tagging off, kind of spun out of it. Something just flared in my neck," he said. "But hey, everything happens for a reason. I'm just happy I'm healthy and was able to go today. I would have loved to play more. But I look forward to the next opportunity and I'll probably be sure I'll have a bigger role in the next game."

Barkley, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, never contemplated sitting out to make sure he was ready for Washington. After an injury-filled three seasons, he has played in every game so far this season despite a shoulder problem that affected him at times earlier this year.

"Every week is important," Barkley said. "I was ready. I was ready to go."