The hopeful feelings the Giants engendered among themselves and their fanbase was momentarily suspended late Monday night at MetLife Stadium. As they were heading toward an eventual 23-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, the longest tenured Giants player who has been with the team since they drafted him in the second round from the University of Oklahoma in the 2016 NFL Draft, tore the ACL in his left knee in what was a non-contact cause.
With 1:09 remaining in the game and on the Giants’ final offensive play, Shepard was running slowly between the yard line numbers and sideline, looking back at the action unfolding behind him when he suddenly grabbed his left knee and crumbled to the turf. The 29-year-old, who returned this season from a torn left Achilles tendon that ironically happened playing against the Cowboys in Week 15 last December, will be out the remainder of this season.
He also was sidelined for six games in the 2019 season with injuries, which included a concussion, and was out four games in 2020 dealing with turf toe among other ailments. One of the most well respected and popular Giants, Shepard was surrounded by his teammates and Cowboys players, all attempting to uplift the resilient 5-10, 195 pass catcher when he was placed on a cart to be taken for medical evaluation.
Shepard ended his season in Week 3 leading the 2-1 Giants with 24 targets by quarterback Daniel Jones and 154 receiving yards.
“To reiterate what I said yesterday, he’s a tremendous person,” offered Giants head coach Brian Daboll on Monday as reported on the team’s official website. “He worked so diligently to get back, and [I] feel terrible for him that he had that injury. He’s a big part of our team, and we’ll miss him out on the field.”
The Giants’ attempt to hold a 3-0 record for the first time since 2009 fell short as they lost to the Cowboys for the ninth time in the teams last 10 meetings. The score was tied 13-13 to start the fourth quarter. The Cowboys took the lead on a one-yard, one-handed touchdown catch by wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the corner of the end zone from quarterback Cooper Rush with 8:30 left that concluded an 11-play, 89-yard drive.
Up 20-13 afterwards, they added a 44-yard field goal by Brett Maher with 5:58 remaining, countered by a 51-yard field goal by the Giants’ Graham Gano at 3:37 to make it 23-16. With the Giants’ shaky offensive line unable to effectively protect Jones, as the QB was under siege by the Cowboys defense that recorded five sacks—three by defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence—and 12 quarterback hits, there would be no comeback.
The Giants will host the 2-1 Chicago Bears in New Jersey this Sunday and travel to London to play the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Week 5 on Oct. 9.