On the strength of his left hand alone, Cody Latimer did his best to make up for lost time.
The Giants wide receiver, who spent eight weeks on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury, made a pair of one-handed grabs — one of them for a touchdown — before the Giants came up short in a 36-35 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“I made it back, busted my butt to get back for these last two games,” Latimer said. “Just trying to show on film for everybody, for myself, and just trying to do the best I can the last two games. Head down, eyes up, and we’ll see what happens.”
Latimer caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown after entering the day with seven receptions for 118 yards and no touchdowns in five games this season. The one ball Latimer didn’t come up with was the Giants’ last prayer, a fourth-down pass from Eli Manning that fell incomplete on strong coverage from cornerback Anthony Brown with 46 seconds left.
With Odell Beckham Jr. missing his fourth straight game with a quad injury, Latimer provided something of a deep threat for Manning and did his fellow wideout proud with his one-handed snags. The first came on a 21-yard touchdown catch with 15 seconds left in the first half, when Latimer corralled the pass with his left hand while staying inbounds and fending off cornerback Byron Jones on his right side.
“Coddddyyy !!! Stop [that],” Beckham tweeted.
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“It was a good touchdown,” said Latimer, who was playing on a one-year deal. “It was a great throw, though, by Eli. Eli threw an amazing pass where I was able to get in where the DB wasn’t. Just something we worked on in practice all the time and, like I said, it was a great pass and a great play call.”
Latimer came through with another one-hander in the fourth quarter to extend the Giants’ go-ahead scoring drive. On a third-and-5 from the Dallas 38, Latimer hauled in a 31-yard pass with Brown in tight coverage, setting up a Saquon Barkley touchdown.
In Beckham’s absence, Latimer joined Evan Engram (five receptions, 81 yards, touchdown), Sterling Shepard (four receptions, 67 yards) and Bennie Fowler (three receptions, 21 yards) in trying to fill the void.
“Cody stepped up and made some big plays,” Manning said. “You see other guys in situations to make plays and you rely on them. Odell is a tremendous player. When he is in games, he is going to attract the ball. It gives you an opportunity to trust those other guys and to see if they can make plays. They did.”