MVP: WR Sterling Shepard
Sterling Shepard was all over the field this week, and was really the only offensive player who looked to give every play his 100% effort.
Shep had season-highs in receptions, targets, and yards. He caught nine of his 12 targets for 77 yards and hauled in the Giants’ lone touchdown.
But the most impressive part of Shepard’s game was how many times he converted a first down.
The Giants did not pick up a first down until their third drive of the game, and Shepard was who kicked it off. He caught a short pass from Jones but took it 14 yards. He then caught another short pass five plays later and took that one for 11 yards. Then caught another on the drive which went for four yards.
Steps three catches on that drive helped set up the Giants first score.
In the second half, the Giants caught a break on a roughing-the-kicker penalty that kept their drive alive. After an Andrew Thomas false start made it 3rd & 15 a few plays later, Shepard caught another first down, before catching the Giants first touchdown in nine quarters.
Shepard would go on to catch more first downs on every subsequent drive for the Giants. He was Jones’ most reliable and productive receiver, which would explain why he led the team in targets and receptions.
Sterling Shepard, at 5’-10”, should not be the team’s number one option. It’s no diss to him — he’s an exciting and explosive slot receiver. And if there was a big-body number one option on the outside, his numbers would be even better than they already are.
Unfortunately for Shepard, Jones, and the Giants’ offense at large, the Giants have no true number one option. But Shepard’s effort this week is how he plays whenever he’s on the field. He’ll continue to do everything in his power to bring the Giants back to the playoffs.