news / Shepard, Beckham were solid during Sunday's victory

Wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham, Jr. were solid during the Giants' 22-16 win over the Bears on Sunday.

Shepard had five receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown, which came in the third quarter and was the difference in the game.

Beckham had five receptions for 46 yards while being targeted seven times.

"Sterling is playing well. He's just getting better on some routes and adding more to his arsenal of routes that he's winning," Eli Manning told reporters after the game. "He had a nice third-down conversion on a crossing route. Obviously the touchdown, he had a double move and I think killed the guy. I think the guy was still running the shallow route thinking that's what he's running.

"He's done a good job just understanding the offense, understanding the timing of certain routes, how to set up things. We've got to keep going with that."

Meanwhile, Victor Cruz -- who returned to action after missing last Monday night's game against the Bengals, had one catch for 48 yards.

We all know if the Giants are to become relevant again they need to be more than Eli-to-OBJ in the passing game. Others would have to step up when defenses figure out Beckham. We saw that on Sunday when the Bears chose to concentrate more on Beckham and leave Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz either singled up or in zone coverage.

Sure Beckham made his plays, but the Bears basically held him in check. The encouraging part was that Eli did not give in to their strategy and looked elsewere in the passing game. Shepard had 11 targets to Beckham's seven, although they both ended up with five receptions. Beckham appeared to be frustrated by that but he has to learn that this is a team game. When he puts up huge numbers, the Giants usually lose.

Cruz, coming back from injury, has been an afterthought of sorts, and that naturally works to the Giants' advantage -- especially when he can still contribute with a big play here and there like he did with his 48-yard catch on Sunday.

Going forward, Beckham is going to have to learn to share if he wants to be part of a winner. The more options the Giants have the better and he can contribute more by just being a decoy some weeks. Back in the 1980s, Lawrence Taylor's presence sometimes was enough for teams to change their approach, leaving the door open for others to make the plays. Beckham should take heed to that.



John Fennelly | | November 21, 2016