Wayne Gallman Has Flourished Without Saquon Barkley

Ever since the injury to star running back Saquon Barkley, his backup Wayne Gallman has slowly but surely been a godsend for the New York Giants.

Wayne Gallman Has Flourished Without Saquon Barkley

Gallman and the run game were the reasons the Giants were able to get a big win against the Seattle Seahawks on the road on Sunday. Gallman rushed for 135 yards on 16 carries. It was Gallman’s 60-yard run midway through the third quarter that set up the Giants first touchdown which gave them a lead they would never relinquish.

It should be noted that Alfred Morris scored to finish off that drive with a 4-yard jaunt into the end zone for the score. The veteran Morris is showing he still has something left in the tank and his resurgence should be applauded. He complemented Gallman with 39 rushing yards on eight carries. Morris also reeled in a crucial six-yard touchdown pass to give the Giants all the cushion they needed in the victory.

The Giants defense has been stellar of late and their effort in bottling up Russell Wilson was probably the biggest factor in the Giants beating the Seahawks. However, the play and importance of Gallman can’t be undersold.

He Was Not Supposed To Be in This Role

When the Giants lost Barkley in Week 2 in a road game against the Chicago Bears and brought in Devonta Freeman, no one could have imagined the impact Wayne Gallman would have on this team. But Gallman has made his value known. Gallman is now in his fourth year in the NFL and he has had a nondescript beginning to his career. He was always viewed as a backup, especially when the Giants drafted Barkley. In his four years, he has only rushed for 1,266 yards on 322 carries with nine touchdowns.

But his career numbers don’t tell the entire story. At least when it comes to the impact he has had this season. Gallman has been reborn this season, especially after the Giants unfortunate 0-5 beginning to the 2020 campaign. He has six of his nine career rushing touchdowns this season. That mark ranks tied for 12th in the NFL. In his first four games this year, Gallman rushed for 76 yards on 11 carries. However, after Freeman struggled and eventually got hurt in the Giants Week 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Gallman has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

He Keeps Getting Better and Better as the Season Progresses

In the last six games (including coming in for Freeman in the game against the Eagles), Gallman has rushed for 428 yards to go along with the aforementioned six touchdowns. And aside from flat-lining in Week 10 in the rematch against Philadelphia (rushing for 53 yards on 18 carries), Gallman has upped his rushing totals each game since being inserted into the mix as the starting back.

Here is his progression since assuming lead-back duties:

  • Week 7 at Philadelphia: 10 carries for 34 yards
  • Week 8 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 12 carries for 44 yards
  • Week 9 at Washington Football Team: 14 carries for 68 yards
  • Week 10 vs. Philadelphia: 18 carries for 53 yards
  • Week 11: Bye week
  • Week 12 at Cincinnati Bengals: 24 carries for 94 yards
  • Week 13 at Seattle: 16 carries for 135 yards

Gallman just keeps grinding and getting better each week. Each Giants game is increasingly important as they try to win the NFC East and Gallman keeps coming up clutch. Not bad for a guy who was basically viewed as a third-string running back at the beginning of the season. After Barkley went down, there was not a lot of confidence in Gallman. That is why the Giants signed Freeman. But Gallman deserves credit for flipping the switch and providing much needed production as the Giants try to win the NFC East.

Last word

After almost four years in the league, Gallman is just happy that he’s experiencing winning after years of ineptitude in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He thinks the vibe around the locker room is improving after a four-game winning streak.

More from Giants.com:

Not saying that we didn’t have a team before in the past, but this team, everyone wants it. From our coaches, to our owners, to the players. We really want it. We know what we have and we just have to keep on going every week. We can’t take any week for granted. We just have to put that work in for the next four weeks that we have and see what happens.

After Barkley got hurt in Week 2 and then the Giants starting off 0-5, no one could have seen the role Gallman has taken on and the significance behind it. But the Giants currently sit atop the NFC East (technically tied with Washington, but the Giants own the tiebreaker with season sweep) and Wayne Gallman is a major reason why they have turned the corner.

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Images