Entering the week, tight end Evan Engram wasn’t entirely sure he’d still be with the New York Giants by the time kickoff rolled around on Sunday.
There had been various reports that teams were interesting in trading for Engram and given that the Giants were 2-6 at the time, it made sense for them to at least listen to some offers. But in the end, nothing materialized and Engram stayed put as the NFL’s trade deadline came and went.
With the stress of that in the rear-view mirror, Engram took the field against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9 feeling pretty loose.
That was evident on the team’s opening drive when Engram ran a great route, went up high and ‘Mossed’ Raiders safety Johnathan Abram, snatching the ball away at the high point before turning a corner and plunging into the end zone. Touchdown.
Giants fans, who had done nothing but boo Engram all season, erupted.
“It was cool, yeah. It was cool. It felt good,” Engram said with a smile.
The crowd reaction was welcomed, but Engram was not surprised by the play itself. It was a one-on-one matchup the Giants had anticipated and a play they worked on throughout the week.
“It’s a big play, a play that we worked on all week. We knew what kind of coverage and the kind of defense they were going to play and (Daniel Jones) made a perfect throw. Literally, a perfect throw and trusted me with it. I just went up and made a play for the team,” Engram said.
“Mainly, just really felt good just making a play for the team. We worked that play a lot this week and for it to come down and cash in, that was big. So it felt good.”
Jones had little doubt that if he put the ball in a competitive spot, Engram would make the play, resetting the perception that had been built over the first eight weeks of the season.
“He did a great job of going up and making a play. Just tried to throw it up and give him a chance and he did the rest. Heck of a play by him right there,” Jones said.
It’s up to Engram to build on the momentum but at least for now, he’ll get to enjoy a reprieve from being the scapegoat.