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Giants receiving corps stepped up to fill Odell Beckham void

LANDOVER, Md. — When the Giants learned Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t going to play against the Redskins on Sunday afternoon because of a quad injury, the remaining receivers knew they would have to do more than usual.

The result was a 40-16 whipping of Washington at FedEx Field and emergence of a few new names the Giants can now count on as dependable receivers.

Eli Manning threw three touchdowns to teammates not named Beckham. Sterling Shepard caught a 3-yarder for a score in the first quarter, while recently signed Bennie Fowler grabbed a 6-yard pass to put the Giants up 31-0 in the second quarter. Russell Shepard was on the receiving end of Manning’s third TD pass, an 11-yarder to give the Giants a 40-0 advantage. Tight end Evan Engram, meanwhile, had five catches for 77 yards, and Corey Coleman, signed to the practice squad in October, had two receptions for 43 yards.

“We knew Odell had something going on with his quad,” Russell Shepard said. “But we were ready. This young group was ready to step up. That’s what you want on a football team.”

They won’t all be this easy. But it was reassuring the Giants could succeed without the NFL’s highest-paid receiver.

“Odell is a one-of-a-kind player and we’d love to have him healthy,” Engram said. “But we came in here and played Giants football. We executed; had great energy; and had fun. We played for each other.”

Head coach Pat Shurmur said Beckham’s quad injury had been lingering for several days. Beckham missed practice Friday and when he was examined Saturday, “it was pretty evident he couldn’t play,” the coach said.

Russell Shepard said Sunday’s showing was more than just a win. It was a signal the Giants are beginning to change their identity.

“The culture is shifting,” he said. “We’re learning how to win. You want to see everybody contribute. You want to see everybody’s hard work pay off. When you see guys having success and having fun, that’s important. I believe Odell is a top-five player in this league and when you don’t have that type of guy making plays and drawing attention, you have to step up and the team across the board stepped up.”

The success of a running game that produced 227 yards on the ground helped the passing attack. Manning was 14-of-22 for just 197 yards, and completed passes to eight different receivers.

“It’s fun to be in those types of games where everything seems to be working,” Manning said. “Obviously, everybody was involved. It was good to see everybody get in there and get going.”

Original article: https://nypost.com/2018/12/10/giants-receiving-corps-stepped-up-to-fill-odell-beckham-void/

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