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Rookie progress report: Chad Wheeler steps up in first start


* breaks down the performance of the Rookies in Week 11: *

There are few positions in sports where not hearing your name is a good thing. Offensive tackle is one of them.

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Chad Wheeler, an undrafted rookie from USC who had taken just two offensive snaps all season, made his first career start on Sunday against the Chiefs. He lined up at right tackle across from four-time Pro Bowler Justin Houston after the Giants called him into action because starter Justin Pugh was out with a back injury.

As a unit, the offensive line allowed no sacks and only one quarterback hit in 68-plus minutes of action that resulted in a 12-9 overtime victory for Big Blue. The Giants also rushed for more than 110 yards for the fifth time in six games while Orleans Darkwa scored the only touchdown of the game on a one-yard run to Wheeler's side. The 6-foot-7, longhair lineman was the first one to congratulate him in the end zone.

"I thought Chad had a quiet day from where I was standing," coach Ben McAdoo said after the game. "So that's a good day for your first start."

"Yes, I had a quiet game, but that's a good thing," said Wheeler, who played every offensive snap in addition to three special teams plays while becoming the first Giants rookie free agent to start on the offensive line since Jeff Roehl in 2003. "It's a testament to Eli [Manning] getting the ball out quickly and [right guard] D.J. Fluker helping me. It wasn't just my effort. It was a team effort."

His quarterback was a little more complimentary.

"I thought Chad did a good job," Manning said. "Going up against a good player, he held his own and he's comfortable and I thought he'll learn from it and there's nothing like experience. First game, kind of just getting accustomed to things and the speed of everything. I thought he did a good job."

Here is a look at how the rest of the rookie class fared in Sunday's victory:


6 targets
1 reception, 9 yards
58 offensive plays (84.1%)
3 special teams plays (11.5%)

The first-round draft choice was getting the individual results in recent weeks, but not the team results. Sunday was the opposite, and that was just fine by him. Engram, who received a rare honor for a rookie and was named one of three game captains by McAdoo, had only one catch for nine yards on six balls thrown his way. That snapped a four-game touchdown streak, which had not been done by a Giants tight end since Mark Bavaro in 1987. Engram still needs one more touchdown to break a tie with Bob Tucker for most touchdowns (five) by a rookie tight end in franchise history.


6 tackles (3 solo)
38 defensive snaps (50.7%)
6 special teams snaps (23.1)

Tomlinson played the most snaps among Giants defensive tackles and was the second-highest graded defensive lineman on the team after Damon Harrison, according to Pro Football Focus. Tomlinson helped limit a Kansas City offense that entered No. 1 in the league in yards per play (6.22) to just 5.1.


6 carries, 19 yards
1 reception, 3 yards (4 targets)
1 special teams tackle
16 offensive plays (23.2%)
19 special teams plays (73.1%)

Gallman helped the Giants reach 100 yards on the ground once again but wasn't safe from the drop bug that swirled around both teams during a windy game at MetLife Stadium. He also had a tackle on the opening kickoff of the game, forcing Kansas City to begin on its own 17.


1 solo tackle
1 quarterback hit
25 defensive plays (33.3)

Even with Olivier Vernon coming back healthy, Moss has carved out a role for himself in his young career. He teamed up with safety Landon Collins on a nice run stop in the first half.


13 tackles (8 solo, 1 special teams)
69 defensive plays (92.0%)
10 special teams plays (38.5%)

Starting in place of the injured B.J. Goodson once again, Munson has been a tackling machine at middle linebacker. He has 40 tackles on the season, including two for losses and a forced fumble.


6 targets
3 receptions, 34 yards
27 offensive plays (39.1%)

Rudolph was part of a four-way tie with Roger Lewis, Tavarres King, and Shane Vereen for the team lead in receptions.


14 offensive plays (20.3%)
13 special teams plays (50%)

While defensive tackle Robert Thomas doubled as the fullback on Darkwa's touchdown run, Smith saw a good deal of snaps on offense and special teams. He played in his fifth game and made his third start of the season with a brief stint in between on the practice squad.

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