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Giants Q&A: How did Big Blue do without Odell Beckham Jr.?

Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard celebrates with teammates

Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday in Landover, Maryland. Credit: Getty Images/Rob Carr

What happened to Odell Beckham Jr.?

The Giants’ top wide receiver did not make the trip because of a quadriceps injury that apparently flared up late in the week. Beckham had been a full participant at practices until Friday, when he  suddenly was listed as limited.

Saquon Barkley said something happened to him at practice, although Pat Shurmur denied that. On Saturday, the team said Beckham would not play against the Redskins.

“This has been a thing that’s been lingering,” Shurmur said. “He was further evaluated on Friday and came in Saturday and it was pretty evident he couldn’t play.”

How did that impact the wide receivers?

They had to step up, and they did. Russell Shepard, Bennie Fowler and Corey Coleman totaled four catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns. “When you don’t have arguably the best player on our team out there, it’s going to be on us to make plays,” Fowler said.

“This is a team sport and I think everybody did their jobs well today,” Shurmur said. “If for whatever reason you don’t have one of the players who can make a difference, it’s all about the team.”

And how did it impact Barkley?

It made the Giants even more reliant on the run than they had been in recent weeks. Not that such an obvious adjustment did anything to derail the rookie running back, who ran for 170 yards — 159 in the first half.

“It feels great to have a dominant running game,” Barkley said. “Obviously, we knew Odell wasn’t going to play and we were probably more likely to rely on the run game a little bit more . . . We knew that Odell wasn’t going to be able to play, but we can’t stop. We have to find a way to win. And at the end of the day, we did.”

Beckham clearly enjoyed Barkley’s performance. Shortly after his 78-yard run in the second quarter, Beckham posted a peace sign on Twitter to remind the world he was watching.

Could this Beckham injury linger for a few weeks?

“I don’t know,” Shurmur said. “I’m not worried about it.”

How did Kyle Lauletta look in his NFL debut?

As if he were making his NFL debut. The rookie threw five passes, none of them complete to teammates. One was intercepted by the Redskins to set up their first touchdown.

“I don’t think we had enough there to evaluate how he did, but he executed things pretty well,” Shurmur said. “We would have liked to have seen him get a couple more completions and not throw that interception, certainly.”

Lauletta would have liked that too.  “There’s no excuses,” he said. “Obviously I didn’t execute like I wanted to. I’ll be better the next time.”

Even if it wasn’t enough to evaluate Lauletta, was Shurmur happy he could get the rookie some game action?

Happy for the rest of the world, it seemed. “I’ve fielded enough questions regarding Kyle Lauletta that those of you who were interested in seeing him hopefully got a chance,” Shurmur said. “There he is.”

  There had been some clamoring for the Giants to give Lauletta opportunities this season even if they did not occur organically, as they did on Sunday. Said Shurmur, “We felt like, ‘OK, let’s take a look at him. Let’s see.’  ”

When did Lauletta know he would play?

His first inkling was when he came into the halftime locker room up 34-0. “As the score was going up, I was saying, ‘Well, maybe they might put me in there if this thing gets out of hand,’  ” Lauletta said. “I thought there was a good shot that I was going to get in in the second half.”

So did Shurmur. “It’s rare that you have these types of situations,” he said. “We didn’t really discuss it much. I talked to [offensive coordinator] Mike Shula about it that if things played out the way that we wanted them to by the start of the fourth quarter that we might, you know, think about it.”  

How did Mark Sanchez look?

Like the Mark Sanchez you remember. The former Jets quarterback made his first start of the season for Washington and was pulled in the third quarter. He completed 6 of 14 passes for 38 yards, was sacked five times and threw two interceptions.

The Giants knew they probably could take advantage of Sanchez, even if they didn’t acknowledge it.

“We couldn’t worry about that,” safety Michael Thomas said. “Obviously, we definitely didn’t want to let him get in a groove. It was all about giving him different looks. He’s an NFL quarterback, he’s been around for a long time, so we had to make sure we didn’t just give him the answer.”

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