Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. has had an illustrious career thus far in the NFL. He’s broken, or will break, every record set by receivers in their first three seasons. On Sunday, he caught two touchdown passes in the Giants’ 28-23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Those receptions gave Beckham 30 touchdown receptions in 35 career games, making him the sixth player in NFL history to record at least 30 touchdown catches in his first 35 career games.
Beckham joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Allworth, Bob Hayes, Cloyce Box, Bill Groman and Harlon Hill as the only players to accomplish that feat. If you haven’t heard of some these players, there’s a good reason. They were way before your time.
Beckham is a once in a generation player and in this writer’s opinion, the most talented and impactful figure to cross the Giants’ landscape since Lawrence Taylor. He is accumulating statistics and accolades with every passing week, but until this season, he hasn’t been part of a winning situation.
Sunday’s win over the Eagles was a first for Beckham, who had endured 20 losses in his first 34 games as a pro, which included an 0-4 record against Philadelphia.
“I couldn’t get a better present,” Beckham, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday. “My teammates, my coaches, this is everything you needed to cap off, or start the weekend. It was a great win we had tonight. We fought for it. Even at times when it looked like they still could win the game, we fought for it.”
They did. The offense tried to create mismatches in the passing game and accomplished that often as QB Eli Manning threw four touchdowns in the win. The Giants needed to make a statement on Sunday by winning a divisional game and, although it wasn’t a convincing victory, a win is a win. They now have a 2-1 divisional record with victories over the Cowboys and Eagles.
“It was the Eagles” Beckham said when asked if the game was tougher than usual because of it’s importance. “For the past two years that I’ve been here, I haven’t won a single game against them. Actually, I’ve gotten blown out by them most of the times. It was good to get the win. Next time we play them, we’re going to be at their house and we know what the challenge is going to be.”
The next challenge will be the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night at MetLife Stadium. The focus will not change with the opponent. The Giants are aware they must take this season one week at a time. Now that Beckham has put his emotional baggage and recent hip ailment behind him, he knows he must direct his energies toward helping the Giants win ballgames.
“Just trying to win the division. Starting one game at a time,” he said when told the Giants were 5-3 at the turn. “Get to the playoffs, hopefully. I haven’t had a chance to be in a playoff game. It’s a one game at a time thing. You can’t look forward to that. You have to look forward to next Monday. How we’re going to prepare for them and come out with a win. 5-3, hopefully we can go to 6-3. That puts you in a pretty good place, especially with the other teams in the division. Dallas, they’re playing at a high, high level. You have to keep winning.”
There are some things they still have to address, such as the running game, the pass rush and ball security, but so far the Giants have hung tough and won the games they likely would have lost last year.
Beckham realizes the offense has been underperforming and the defense has been the reason why they are winning games. At this point, he just wants to get them enough points to secure victories.
“This defense, they’re phenomenal,” he said. “To go against them every single day, you know what’s expected. There’s been times in practice we’re prepping a situation and they’re stopping us on fourth. It doesn’t surprise me, it’s just a great feeling. We get to get out there and now we need to make a play for them. They reward us with the ball back and we try and make a play for them. Put points on the board.”
So far, that plan is working.