Giants’ Devontae Booker barely plays in Saquon Barkley’s return


TAMPA, Fla. — What happened to the sharing plan at running back for the Giants?

The return of Saquon Barkley was not supposed to mean the absence of Devontae Booker from the offensive game plan. But it did. Barkley, after missing four games with a sprained ankle, was not overworked, getting only three rushing attempts (and gaining only 10 yards) in the first quarter. Barkley also caught three passes for 16 yards. He finished with 12 total touches (six runs, six receptions).

Booker played well the previous two games, running for a career-high 99 yards two weeks ago in the victory over the Raiders. He came out of that game with a hip issue that limited him in practice but he was active and available to play Monday. That he did not get on the field in the first quarter of the 30-10 loss to the Bucs raises the question of whether he was healthy — and if he was not, why was he active? Barkley certainly was not accomplishing much and Booker might have provided a spark, had he been sent onto the field earlier.

Devontae Booker got just three carries despite Saquon Barkley (26) struggling.
Devontae Booker got just three carries despite Saquon Barkley (26) struggling.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Booker made his first appearance late in the third quarter, getting in the game after Barkley came away with his longest run, a 12-yard gain. Booker ended the game with three rushing attempts and one reception.

Rookie WR Kadarius Toney (7-40) left in the fourth quarter with a quad contusion.

The touchdown reception for Andrew Thomas in the second quarter was the first by a Giants offensive lineman since 1960.

“In practice it’s a lot easier than that,’’ Thomas said of his catch. He had a reception on a two-point conversion earlier this season in Dallas. Thomas was activated off injured reserve and started at left tackle. He missed the previous three games with foot and ankle issues.

TE Kyle Rudolph caught a 28-yard pass in the third quarter but exited after that with a sprained ankle and did not return.

Tom Brady threw 46 passes and the Giants had no sacks and one quarterback hit on him.

“He definitely sat back there longer than we hoped,’’ said DL Leonard Williams.

Brady came into the game needing 130 passing yards to reach 3,000 for the season. He got it well before halftime. It was the 19th time Brady achieved this yardage total, allowing him to pass Brett Favre on the NFL’s all-time list. Favre had 18 seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards.

Brady had an 11-yard run on a scramble in the second quarter and he actually high-stepped out of a tackle on the play.

“It’s been forever, probably never,’’ Brady, 44, said of the run. “That’s not what I do.’’

The Buccaneers won a replay challenge late in the second quarter, nullifying a first-down reception for Toney along the sideline. … The Bucs racked up 10 first downs in the first quarter. … DL Raymond Johnson had the only sack of the game for the Giants; it came against backup QB Blaine Gabbert.

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