NY Giants grades: Offense holds, Leonard Williams has monster game

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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NY Giants
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

WR Sterling Shepard

Grade: A

Fresh off of an MVP performance last week, Sterling Shepard continued to show how important he could be for this offense and Daniel Jones going forward.

Shepard brought in 8 of 10 targets, and was the only Giants’ receiver who caught more than two passes. He racked up 112 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown, and ran for 24 yards on two carries, one of which was another first down.

Again, Shepard showed drive after drive that he is the crispest Giants’ route runner. He averaged 14 yards per catch, with a long of 21, and made his presence felt all over the field. Shepard also made up ground to catch anything near him, often needing to end his route early and come back for the ball on a few particularly inaccurate passes from Jones.

Shepard has been a sure thing for Jones, which is absolutely vital for the sophomore quarterback to have any chance to succeed. Outside Darius Slayton and Evan Engram — who each had four targets but just two catches and drops, none worse than Engram’s that caused an interception — Jones stuck to throwing it Shepard’s way all game.

Shepard broke 100+ receiving yards for the first time this season, and for the first time since Week 8 of 2019. It also marks Shepard’s first multi-touchdown game, his first career rushing touchdown, and the first time he’s gone back-to-back games scoring since Week 3 and Week 4 of 2018.

Shepard has fought the injury bug his whole career, only playing in 16 games twice in five seasons. While he’s healthy, though, he makes a strong case for one of the league’s best slot receiver.

The Giants will need to center their arial attack on a better number one option. Whether by draft or by free agency, this season has proved how desperately they lack a true big-body receiver.

And if they do, it won’t help just Jones develop, but it’ll take some pressure away from Shepard, who is a staple for this offense going forward.