Odell Beckham Jr. took a tearful cart ride off the field after fracturing his left ankle. The day’s decimation was complete. Nearly the entire cast of Giants wide receivers had incredibly been wiped out by injuries.
There were four minutes left and four receivers down Sunday against the Chargers at MetLife Stadium. The last man standing? That was Roger Lewis Jr.
“When I seen ‘O’ go down, I was like, ‘All right, I want to be able to close the game,’ ” Lewis said. “But things didn’t work out well.”
The Giants lost more than a game, a 27-22 defeat that dropped a team which entered the season with Super Bowl expectations to 0-5.
They lost their most dynamic player in Beckham, who may need surgery. They also lost Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall to ankle injuries, but there was no immediate word on the severity for those two. And they lost Dwayne Harris — their kick and punt returner who’s also a receiver — to a fractured foot.
“It hurts,” Lewis said. “It hurts. Three or four of my brothers got hurt today. Those are like big brothers. It really hurts. It’s just tough.
“I’d never played in a game like that, but [receivers] coach Adam Henry always preaches, ‘Next man up, next man up mentality.’ ”
Except they ran out of next men up among the receivers.
“It significantly altered the game,” coach Ben McAdoo said.
So there they were, trying to make a final drive toward the winning touchdown rather shorthanded. Tight ends Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison became stand-ins as receivers. Tight end Jerell Adams was out there, too. The drive ended with Eli Manning throwing an interception.
“There at the end having three tight ends and one receiver on a two-minute drive, we were able to get a couple of first downs, do some things,” Manning said. “But it was not the ideal situation . . . It’s a tough situation to call plays. You want to call things and make sure guys have an idea of what they’re running.”
Shepard and Marshall went down on the same drive during the second quarter, both on incompletions thrown their way. Harris got hurt while returning the second-half kickoff.
And then came the fateful slant to Beckham. The ball went off his hands and there was an awkward landing when he was taken down.
“He was in a lot of pain,” Ellison said.
Engram didn’t mind splitting out in place of the receivers. The first-round pick has worked outside before.
“I felt comfortable out there,” Engram said. “The next guy had to step up.”
The Giants will need more help at the position. Travis Rudolph, Ed Eagan and Marquis Bundy are on the practice squad. Tavarres King, who caught a touchdown pass in the playoff loss to Green Bay last season but was waived after the opener, is available.
If they’re feeling desperate, there’s also a 30-year-old salsa dancer out there. The Giants released Victor Cruz after last season and Chicago cut him shortly before this season.
Either way, losing those four receivers made it a day to forget for the Giants.
“I’ve never seen that, going back to high school, little league,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “It was insane.”