The Giants was lethargic in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks, but TE Evan Engram was a bright spot for the second straight week as the only playmaker on the unit.
After the injuries to the receiving corps, Engram was expected to see more targets, and so far, he has been making the best of them. He hauled in five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos in Week 7, and he picked up where he left off against Seattle.
Engram has been stepping up in place of the injured playmakers -- WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall -- as his "next man up" mindset has served him well the past two weeks.
"It's a next man up mentality," Engram said after the game. "Of course we miss their big-play capability, definitely. They're some of the best in the game. We have to step up and make plays, too. Yes, it's not good without those guys. We would love to have them but we still have to come out, play and make plays."
The rookie almost had a big play for the Giants as he caught a ball down the sideline, avoided a tackle, and was off to the races with open turf in front of him. However, he was pushed out of bounds and was the first Giant to touch the ball resulting in a loss of down.
Engram isn't a big fan of the rule.
"I was pushed out. I guess that's not the rule. It should be the rule," Engram said. "If you get pushed out, you should be able to come back in and touch the ball. I was pushed out. It was a big play. it hurt bringing it back but we need more of those plays."
He did, however, secure a touchdown for the second consecutive week with a five-yard grab to put the Giants on the board first in the second quarter.
The Giants wouldn't score after Engram's touchdown, and despite their struggles, he is still confident in the unit.
"I felt good about it," he said. "We have to do things better. There is a lot of stuff we could be better at. We wanted to get out and run the ball today. We have to be better than that. We had some plays that we have to make downfield. I'm behind my guys but there are some things that we can do better as a unit."
Engram finished the game with six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. He leads tight ends and ranks second behind Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey in receptions by rookies with 30 on the season.
Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
For all of those who yelled at their TVs in disgust when Jerry Reese decided to take Engram, I hope you're taking that back now. Engram is the real deal, and he has the lone spotlight shining on him as the replacement receivers continue to stay in the shadows.
Manning gave Engram a team-high 12 targets on Sunday, and rightfully so as he is the only receiver to be trusted at the moment. Every time he hauled in a pass, he used the open space in front of him to do some damage. The shallow cross as been his bread and butter, and Manning used it multiple times to give Engram a chance to make a big play.
Unfortunately, the biggest play of the game when the Giants were down had to come back. Engram made a great catch-and-run, making a tackler miss on the sideline, and hit the jets up the field. By god, that speed. When was the last time you saw a tight end out run a cornerback on a 60-yard run?
Engram is having a great rookie campaign despite the misery around him. If there's any positive to take out of this season so far, it has to be the rookie that has proved he is a worthy first-rounder.