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Inside the Numbers: Engram turning heads in rookie campaign


Tight end Evan Engram is putting up numbers that align with Giants' top rookie seasons:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It would be inaccurate to say that Evan Engram is enjoying one of the best seasons by a rookie pass-catcher in Giants history. When your team is 2-11, it's hard to appreciate your individual accomplishments. But Engram has been everything the Giants hoped for when they selected the tight end in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he has established himself as a vital building block for the future.

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With three games remaining, Engram has team-high totals of 55 catches for 623 yards, and six touchdowns. He has 12 more receptions than runner-up Sterling Shepard, and twice as many scores as the players tied for second, running back Orleans Darkwa and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (who has been on injured reserve for two months).

Engram has caught at least one pass in every game but one (vs. the Chargers on Oct. 8), and at least three catches in 11 of the Giants' 13 games. If he totals 11 or more catches in the final three weeks, he will pass Shepard (65 receptions in 2016) and move into third place on the Giants' all-time rookie list (Beckham had 91 in 2014, and tight end Jeremy Shockey had 74 in 2002).

With just 61 more yards, Engram will pass Shepard (683) and move into fifth place on the Giants' rookie list, behind Beckham (1,305), Shockey (894), Bobby Johnson (795 in 1984) and Hakeem Nicks (790 in 2009). If Engram averages 58 yards a game, he will pass Nicks and Johnson. He is averaging 47.9 yards per game.

Engram's six touchdown receptions ties Nicks for sixth on the rookie list. He needs one score to tie Johnson and two to tie Ken MacAfee and Shepard.

Engram also places well against his peers. He leads all rookie tight ends in catches, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions. Among all NFL rookies, he is fourth in receptions and third in yardage. And among tight ends, Engram is tied for fifth in catches and is fifth in receiving yards.

*On Sunday, for the second time this season, the Giants were tied or leading at halftime, but did not score in the second half and lost. Dallas scored 20 unanswered points and won the game, 30-10. On Oct. 22, the Giants led Seattle at halftime, 7-3, but lost, 24-7. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants last won a game in which they did not score a second-half point on Sept. 4, 2008, a 16-7 victory against Washington. Since then, they are 0-13 in games in which they do not score in the second half.

*The loss to Dallas was the fourth game this season, including both meetings with the Cowboys, in which the Giants had no takeaways. They are 0-4 in those games.

*The Giants also did not have a sack. Since 1990, the Giants are 2-20 when they have neither a sack nor a turnover.

*Eli Manning played in his 213th game on Sunday. If he plays in each of the Giants' final three games, he will tie Michael Strahan's franchise record of 216.

*Manning completed 31 of 46 passes vs. the Cowboys. It was the 12th time in 211 career starts that he completed at least 31 passes.

*Manning's second-quarter touchdown pass to Rhett Ellison was the 335th of his career. Here is the breakdown of Manning's scoring passes by quarter:

First: 63
Second: 104
Third: 63
Fourth: 104
Overtime: 1

*On Sunday, Dallas' Rod Smith scored touchdowns on an 81-yard reception and a 15-yard run. He was the first Giants opponent to score on a catch and a run in the same game since Dec. 9, 2012, when Darren Sproles, then with New Orleans, scored on a 13-run and a nine-yard catch in a 52-27 Giants victory.

*Smith finished with five catches for 113 yards. He was the first running back with more than 100 receiving yards against the Giants since Philadelphia's Keith Byars had 128 yards on Nov. 25, 1990.

*Smith was the first running back with a touchdown reception of at least 80 yards against the Giants in the Super Bowl era.

*The Giants have allowed two 80-plus yard touchdown catches this season (San Francisco also had one), the first time that's happened since 2010. That season, wide receivers Calvin Johnson of Detroit and Jordy Nelson of Green Bay caught the long touchdowns.

*This week, the 2-11 Giants will host the 11-2 Eagles. It will be the first Giants game in which one team is at least nine games over .500 and the other is at least nine games under since Dec. 30, 1990, when the 12-3 Giants faced the 1-14 Patriots in New England. The Giants won, 13-10, in their final regular-season game on the way to winning Super Bowl XXV.

The last such NFL game was played on Dec. 30, 2012, when the Denver Broncos (12-3) hosted the Kansas City Chiefs (2-13). Denver routed the Chiefs, 38-3.

But hope is not lost. The last time a team at least nine games under .500 defeated a team at least nine games over was on Dec. 27, 2009, when the 2-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the 13-1 New Orleans Saints, 20-17 – despite Drew Brees completing 32 of 37 passes in the Superdome. That Saints team went on to defeat Indianapolis in XLIV.

*The Giants and Toyota, in partnership with the United States Marines, will hold their annual Toys for Tots drive at MetLife Stadium when they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to any of the collection vehicles and volunteers located at each entrance to the stadium prior to the game. Uniformed Marine Corps Reserves will be on hand to assist in collecting these gifts.

Modell's Sporting Goods has donated $2,500 worth of sports equipment to the cause and will hand out coupons for select Nike products to all fans who donate a toy. Coupons are redeemable at Modell's locations only. All gifts collected during the drive will be donated to Toys for Tots, the premier community action program of the United States Marines. Over the last 50 years, the Marines have distributed over 272,000,000 toys to children across the country during the holiday season.

Since the late 1970's, the Giants have participated in this program and hosted an annual Toys for Tots drive, helping to bring the joy of Christmas to children across the tri-state area. Once again, the Giants ask their friends and fans to join the team as we assist our neighbors in need.

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