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Barkley to face second game in four days for Giants

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Saquon Barkley beat the odds in returning from a major knee injury in less than a year.

The New York Giants star running back faces a quick second test, another game in four days.

While the timespan between games might be a first for an NFL player coming off an ACL injury, Barkley is up for the challenge when the Giants face Washington on Thursday night in an NFC East matchup.

Neither team played well Sunday in losing their openers. New York dropped a 27-13 decision to Denver and Washington was beaten 20-16 by the Chargers.

Like the teams, Barkley’s numbers were not impressive. The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year gained 26 yards on 10 carries and caught a pass for a yard.

His longest run was a 5-yarder on the first play from scrimmage. It was his first carry since Sept. 20, the day he was hurt against the Bears in Week 2.

Barkley insists his explosiveness as a runner is still there. He just has to knock off the rust, read the blocks better, react to the holes and break a tackle or two.

“I didn’t really give myself the opportunity or had an opportunity to break a long one, so I guess I couldn’t show that,” Barkley said of his big-play ability. “Just got to stick with the game plan, stick with the runs, take the dirty runs. When I get the opportunity to make a big play, make a big play.”

Barkley said he actually wrote that in his notes in going over the game. The one thing that was normal was the Monday morning soreness, Barkley said. He job now is to recover quickly.

Barkley said he only was on the field for 25 to 30 snaps so his body was not taxed. He added the feeling of playing was great.

The Giants will need to pick up the running game if they want to improve. They had 20 carries for 60 yards. Quarterback Daniel Jones led the team with 27 yards rushing, all in the second half.

49ers’ back done

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee after getting injured in the season opener.

Coach Kyle Shanahan had said Mostert was expected to miss eight weeks because of chipped cartilage in his knee, but Mostert announced on his Twitter account Tuesday that he will miss the rest of the season.

Mostert said he was “gutted” by the news, but after consulting with multiple doctors felt this was the best decision for his long-term future.

“This gives me, without a doubt in my mind, the best possibility at coming back 110%,” he wrote. “I have ALWAYS come back stronger and I will this time too! … This is obviously not what I worked so hard for. I wish more than anything I could be out on the field with my brothers!!!”

The injury to Mostert is the second season-ending injury suffered by a key 49ers player already this year after the 2020 season was derailed by injuries. Cornerback Jason Verrett tore the ACL in his right knee in the season opener at Detroit.

TV ratings released

The NFL’s kickoff weekend ended up having the second-highest TV ratings for Week 1 over the past five seasons.

The 16 games averaged 17.4 million viewers on television and digital properties. That is a 7% increase over last season (16.3 million average) and nearly equal to 2019, which averaged 17.6 million and remains the highest since 2017.

The most-watched game of the week was last Thursday night’s 31-29 victory by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Dallas Cowboys. It averaged 26.4 million on NBC and digital, making it the most-watched first game of the season since 2015.

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