Saquon Barkley was in a familiar situation during the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge – at least for one game. He was great, without a lot of help from his teammates.
The Giants running back was the last man standing for the NFC before being eliminated in the first of three games for the dodgeball challenge in Orlando on Thursday. It could be considered a microcosm of season that saw the running back become just the third rookie to eclipse 2,000 total yards while the Giants went a dismal 5-11.
Barkley did his best to get his team, which ultimately won two of the three games, a victory in the first one. With all five of the AFC players alive, the former Penn State star showed off some the moves an agility that make him a must-watch on the football field. His mastery of the fives D’s of dodgeball (dodge, duck, dip, dive, dodge) would have made Average Joe’s Patches O’Houlihan and Peter La Fleur proud.
Barkley at one point, prior to being alone, juked out of the way three throws. He eluded seven more tries, barely leaning out of the way of on that just missed his numbers and another at his right hand. Barkley, who was being called The Matrix by commentators, nearly caught a throw by Colts tight end Eric Ebron, only to see it pop out of his hands to eliminate him. The NFC eventually dominated the third game – with Barkley – as part of their five to win the event and the overall challenge.
Jets safety Jamal Adam found himself in a similar position to Barkley in the second game, but didn’t produce the same highlights. He hung in for a little bit before being eliminated by 49ers tight end George Kittle. Early he helped the AFC win the 40-yard splash contest with a throw that knocked NFC coach Urlacher into the dunk tank.