Giants' Barkley on rushing performance: 'I have to be better for the team'
Sarah Stier / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The New York Giants and their rushing attack started the season on the wrong foot, with the Pittsburgh Steelers holding running back Saquon Barkley in check during the team's season opener.

Barkley carried the football 15 times for just six yards in a 26-16 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday night. The rusher's offensive line did him no favors - he was met behind the line of scrimmage on multiple occasions, but Barkley shouldered the responsibility for the run game's woes.

"I have to be better, I have to be better for the team. We have to find a way to get the run game going," Barkley said.

Not only did Barkley finish with fewer rushing yards than Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had nine, but his Week 1 output was also the second-lowest total the 23-year-old has ever produced in a game. Despite the lowlights, the third-year back is not losing any sleep over his numbers.

"I’m not really too concerned with the stats. You have to give credit where credit is due. They have a great defense, especially their defensive front. They made some plays, and we weren’t able to win the game today," Barkley told reporters following the loss.

After the contest, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin also acknowledged shutting down Barkley was an important focus for his team - even if that meant making sacrifices in regards to his passing defense.

"We had a commitment and we weren't going to be bashful about that commitment. We thought that guy was a catalyst for whatever that they were going to do offensively," Tomlin said. "We put our secondary in harm’s way some in an effort to do so. It's a team game. They embraced that challenge."

Barkley's next opportunity to get the Giants' ground game going comes next Sunday against a Chicago Bears defense that gave up 138 rushing yards in Week 1.

Giants' Barkley on rushing performance: 'I have to be better for the team'
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