Playing without wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram stepped up on Sunday in the Giants' 23-10 win over the Broncos in Denver.
The 23-year-old rookie led the team with five receptions (on seven targets) for a career-high 82 yards and a touchdown. Of those 82 yards, 54 were yards after the catch, according to PFF.
Fellow receivers Roger Lewis (one catch for 15 yards), Tavarres King (one catch for seven yards), and Travis Rudolph (no catches) were close to non-existent.
Engram, who used the words "adversity" and "opportunity" to describe what he had on his plate on Sunday night, was confident before the game that the Giants would rise to the ocassion.
"Trust me, we're not worried about that at all," he told the NY Post about the expectation that the offense would struggle. "We're going to come in there, play our game, play for each other, and see what the scoreboard says at the end of the night."
Engram has 24 receptions for 282 yards and two touchdowns in six games this season.
Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Following the slew of injuries last week, Engram was expected to step up and be the playmaker the Giants drafted him to be. Well, he did exactly that, carrying the receiving corps on his shoulders on Sunday night.
Everyone in attendance and watching from home had to know Eli Manning was going to target Engram. It was his only receiver who he readily sees on the field. Yet, the Broncos -- who boast the best defense in the league -- couldn't hold the 23-year-old in check throughout the game.
Why? It was Engram's breakout speed -- the one attribute experts were raving about when the Giants drafted him in April -- that created a mismatch for the Broncos' linebackers. Engram took quick slants across the middle, and took advantage of the one-on-one matchups by simply putting his head down and using his legs to pick up yards. It is clear on the stat sheet with 54 of his 82 yards coming after the catch.
Those are playmaker numbers, and with the Giants' receiving corps depleted for the rest of the season with the exception of Sterling Shepard's eventual return, that production will be expected from Engram every week.