Sterling Shepard was surprised to learn Monday that he was awarded a game ball for his performance in the 40-16 victory over the Redskins. Shepard knew what he contributed on offense and also knew that contribution is usually not enough to warrant such attention.
“They put the stats up there and I was like ‘OK, two receptions for 17 yards,’’’ Shepard said, smiling.
One of the catches went for a touchdown, but it was not a huge offensive output from Shepard. He was recognized for his downfield blocking, which helped Saquon Barkley on his two huge runs, the first a 78-yard touchdown and the second a 52-yarder that helped set up a touchdown.
“That’s his nature,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s gritty, he’s tough, he understands the importance of being a good blocker and he found his way in the end zone as well.’’
Shepard joked he did not do a heck of a lot of blocking in college at Oklahoma because so many plays broke free it was difficult to keep up. It is more of an emphasis with the Giants.
“That’s what we take pride in in the wide receiver room, is blocking, which a lot of receivers you see don’t really like to do that,’’ Shepard said. “But coach Tyke [Tolbert], he’s implanted that into us since he’s got here. That’s what we love doing.’’
TE Rhett Ellison came out of the game with a sprained ankle. S Curtis Riley, who gave the Giants a 7-0 lead with an interception return for a touchdown, had to get his wrist checked out.
These type of blowout victories are rare for the Giants. The 24-point margin of victory was the largest for the Giants since a 36-7 beatdown of the Titans in Tennessee on Dec. 7, 2014. The 34 points was the most scored by the Giants in a first half in nearly six years, since they led the Eagles 35-7 on Dec. 30, 2012. The 40-0 lead after three quarters was the largest lead for the Giants of any kind since they were ahead of the Seahawks 41-0 on Nov. 7, 2010.
When Kyle Lauletta took the field and actually threw a pass, he became the first Giants rookie quarterback to attempt a pass in 15 years — since Eli Manning in 2004.