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Shurmur's play-calling makes receivers wonder

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 25: Strong safety Malcolm

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 25: Strong safety Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 25, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images/Mitchell Leff

PHILADELPHIA — Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t explicitly question the play-calling of coach Pat Shurmur in Sunday’s 25-22 loss to the Eagles. But the star wide receiver suggested that he would have done things differently against a defense dealing with several injuries in the secondary.

“Coming in, knowing that they struggled in the secondary, personally, I would have loved to attack them,” Beckham said. “But it wasn’t in our game plan.”

Beckham made it a point during his postgame interview that he wouldn’t directly address how Shurmur called the game.

“Honestly, that’s a question for Coach,” Beckham said when asked about whether he would have preferred to exploit the Eagles’ pass defense. “I just do what I’m told to do and go out there and execute. Whenever I get the opportunity to do something, I try to make the most of it. If I don’t have that many opportunities, all I can do is what I can do when I have an opportunity.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard also appeared frustrated after the Giants lost the momentum they had built in the first half. They took a 19-3 lead in the second quarter, and Eli Manning completed 19 of 25 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown before throwing an interception in the final seconds with the Giants up 19-11. But he threw only 11 times in the second half, completing six for just 61 yards.

When asked if the Giants had an advantage over the Eagles’ injury-riddled secondary, Shepard said, “We thought so, but I don’t know. It just wasn’t the case. I don’t know why. We were confident in the run game, I guess. It worked in the first half, but [the Eagles] made adjustments.”

Asked if he was able to get open, Shepard said, “You go back and watch the film. Tell me what you see.”

Saquon Barkley had 94 rushing yards and a touchdown in the first half, and the rookie scored the Giants’ other touchdown on a 13-yard pass on their first drive.

Barkley provided the Giants’ biggest offensive play on a 51-yard touchdown run with 4:06 left in the second quarter. He found a hole through the middle before cutting to his left and reaching the end zone to give the Giants the 19-3 lead.

“It was a great call, first and foremost,” Barkley said. “The offensive line blocked it up tremendously. I was able to use my speed to find a way to get into the end zone.”

Barkley was limited to 7 yards on four carries in the second half, but he refused to question the play-calling.

“If I carry the ball 20 times or carry the ball three times, no matter how many times it takes to win the game, I’m willing to do that,” he said. “But we just didn’t finish this game, and that’s the difference.”


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