The greatest show in East Rutherford, was back and right on time.
Odell Beckham Jr. has been a lightning rod for controversy this season. It’s a roller coaster ride the Giants tolerate because the bottom line is still all about production and wins.
Good things tend to happen when the football reaches the gifted hands of Beckham. He’s worth the headaches and growing pains which come with a 23-year old still making the transition to superstardom.
This was never clearer than in the Giants thrilling 27-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. Beckham finished with a career-high 222 receiving yards on eight catches with two touchdowns, including the game-winning 66-yard score on fourth-and- one with 1:24 left in the game.
If the win over an injury-riddled Ravens team saved the season for the Giants, they have their superstar wide receiver to thank.
Beckham was having fun again on the field, the first five weeks of this season had been anything but that for him. The emotional outbursts and visual signs of frustration only drew more attention to Beckham for all the wrong reasons. On top of all that, his quarterback was struggling to get him the football.
The Giants first offensive play from scrimmage against Baltimore was a pass-and-catch to Beckham which resulted in a fumble and turnover. It wasn’t the start he, or the rest of the Giants, were hoping for and eventually the home crowd began voicing their frustration.
They say a sign of a true champion is how they respond to getting punched in the mouth. Mike Tyson also said everyone has a plan until they get that punch in the mouth. The saying doesn’t just apply for professional athletes, it’s just as much part of the fabric we use for life.
In this case, Beckham and Giants quarterback Eli Manning were not going to give up after the Ravens attempt at an early knockout. Manning, the veteran and a two-time Super Bowl champion, stayed the course and eventually began to find his top playmaker, especially in the second half.
The end result was a return to just going out on the field, playing football, and having fun while getting a must-win in the process.
“Collectively as a team, we fought today, for every bit of it,” Beckham said afterwards. “First play, come out, fumble. What are we going to do now? How are we going to overcome adversity? We did that. Now you just have to keep building on it.”
“Yeah that was fun,” Manning said on how it felt to watch the way Beckham played. “That’s what we expect him to do. We got some looks that we wanted. It was good to see him make some bigtime plays in crucial moments.”
“We’ve had some tough losses,” Beckham continued. “There’s definitely going to be things to correct from this film and things to watch. You just keep it moving.”
The Giants will accept all that comes with Beckham because he’s their best option to get the football into the end zone. The excessive touchdown celebrations, the obsession he’s now developed with the kicking net on the sidelines, this and more all comes with the package of having the NFL’s most dangerous playmaker on your team.
Beckham sometimes says too much when he’s opening up to the media. If you give Beckham two minutes to reply, he’s almost a sure-bet to give you an additional sixty seconds of audio which will leave you scratching your head in the aftermath.
It’s the passion that he plays with and, with time, the maturation will eventually catch up to that passion. It’s what makes Beckham a special football player with the type of talent we one day will tell our grandchildren about.
In the meanwhile, the Giants need to stay on Beckham’s emotional roller-coaster and continue to get No. 13 the football if they intend to get back to becoming a playoff team.