PHILADELPHIA — The last time Eli Manning started a game before Monday, Darius Slayton had yet to make his NFL debut.
The rookie was inactive with a hamstring injury for the first two games of the season, and by the time he was healthy, Manning had been benched in favor of Daniel Jones.
Turns out Slayton can still look like a draft-day steal regardless of who’s throwing him passes.
Slayton found the end zone twice in the first half Monday night and finished with five catches for 154 yards before the Giants fell apart in a 23-17 overtime loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Giants offense sputtered in its first two drives of the night but got moving on its third try. It faced a third-and-13 from the Eagles’ 35-yard line on the first play of the second quarter when Manning found Slayton on a pass to the 28-yard line. Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby was there in coverage and would have forced a fourth down had he made the tackle, but Slayton turned away and slipped out of his reach. With no one else in sight, he raced to the end zone for the 35-yard touchdown to put the Giants up 7-0.
On the Giants next drive, Manning went right back to the bank and hit up Slayton. Manning got off one of his best throws of the night on a 42-yard pass to Slayton down the left sideline for an over-the-shoulder catch. It got the Giants into Eagles territory and eventually led to a field goal for the 10-3 lead.
Two drives later, the Giants stole seven points before the end of the half. Slayton turned on the burners and ran right past Darby and Rodney McLeod to haul in a 55-yard touchdown pass from Manning with 27 seconds left to go up 17-3.
Slayton, a fifth-round steal, was not heard from in the second half, but still became the first rookie to have multiple games of 100-plus receiving yards and two-plus touchdowns in a single season since 2014 — when Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans and Allen Hurns all achieved the feat.
Slayton’s 154 receiving yards were the most by a Giants pass catcher since Sterling Shepard in Week 7 of last season.