Not only did the New York Giants choke up a 10 point lead to the Jets on Sunday, but Odell Beckham Jr. provided plenty of question marks.
By Robby Sabo
It was late in the second quarter on a December day at the Meadowlands. The New York Giants and Jets were locked in a 10-10 very sloppily played football game. A game that meant the world to both average teams in terms of the tournament.
Then, Odell Beckham Jr. happened.
Buster Skrine and another defender decided to chase the target in the flat, inexplicably leaving the all-world OBJ wide open on a crossing pattern. A route that resulted in an uncontested 73-yard touchdown.
Beckham Jr. enjoyed the spotlight – as he usually does – by hurdling through the endzone like an Olympic athlete:
In the first quarter he snagged a ball perhaps only he could, accounting for Eli Manning’s first completion of the day:
When it comes to wowing us, the man is absolutely brilliant. He’s hands down one of the best in the business. He’s an Instagram, Twitter and Bleacher Report god.
Unfortunately for the Giants and their fans, he’s not the best. Not by a long shot.
Take the ending of today’s game. On a critical third down in overtime two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning targeted his guy. The only guy who should be looked at first in such a situation.
OBJ beat his man on the corner route, separating himself as he usually does. Manning’s pass, while not perfect, was in range for a play to be attempted.
Instead of going all out on the ball, Beckham Jr. showcased one of the worst “alligator-arm” displays of all-time.
The very average yet hard-hitting, Rontez Miles (who was playing for the injured Calvin Pryor), was closing in on the second-year wideout from LSU. Beckham Jr. pulled his arms in like a scared high schooler and “protected his investment” rather than going all-out like the best should.
Then, to add the cherry on top of the gloomy day for Big Blue, OBJ kicked the ball like a petulant five-year old. This prompted a five-yard delay of game penalty creating a much more difficult 3rd and 7.
RELATED: OBJ Makes Filthy One-Handed Catch
Although Eli wound up finding Beckham on the ensuing 3rd down – which was a great play all the way around – the statement had already been made.
Odell Beckham Jr. is far from the league’s best wide receiver.
To be the very best in the league a few special attributes need to be equipped. First and foremost, talent is a must. We know he possesses this. His speed his top-notch; agility and elusiveness brilliant; route-running exceptional; and hands god-like.
Then, work-ethic is next. From all indications through the early stages of his Giants career, he seems to have what it takes.
Finally, physical and mental toughness rounds out the complete package. This is where the plethora of questions start to arise.
Coming into the season it was quite clear what was happening surrounding Beckham. Because he was the toast of the league last season – making plays like “The Catch” and finding himself on the cover of Madden – he instantly became a target.
Make no mistake about it, defenders understand should they be the one who knocks out the great OBJ, they’ll become the next nondescript NFL player to find himself on SportsCenter. They’d be the one who knocked out the cocky and oftentimes arrogant wideout.
Instead of taking it head on, Beckham seemed to talk about it a little too much, via Tom Rock of Newsday:
“I could rub a lot of people the wrong way if they don’t know me,” the Giants’ second-year wide receiver said Wednesday when talking about defensive backs gunning for him and how some of that attention may be, as he called it, “self-inflicted.”
“I’m sure a lot of it was because of me, being who I am, and dancing and having fun,” he continued. “Also having success at the same time, I’m sure that if you were going against me you wouldn’t want to see that. I wouldn’t want a DB breaking up the ball every single play and him dancing all in my face as well. I could understand why things may be the way they are.”
Though he said that, and quite well might I add, his actions on the field told a different story.
Against Jacksonville in Week 2 of the preseason Beckham was visibly frustrated on the field. So upset that he let his emotions get the better of him and jaw and actually push safety Sergio Brown after it looked as though OBJ pulled up on a ball.
Teammate Victory Cruz noticed the Jags “gunning” for his teammate and spoke up:
— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) August 25, 2015
Why he spoke up I still don’t know. Cruz of all people – the Salsa Dancing king himself – should understand how big a target you make yourself if you splash hard onto the scene with extracurricular activities (dancing and celebrating over the top). In Week 4 against the Bills we had another negative Beckham Jr. sighting:
What are you doing Beckham? You get knocked down by Duke Williams, get back up, smack him in the face, and then run away?
Guys who are labeled “best in the league” don’t allow their emotions to get the better of them like this. And furthermore, if you’re going to smack somebody in the face, you stand your ground.
If childlike behavior wasn’t enough, there’s the matter of not getting it done when the game is on the line.
Take Week 10 against the New England Patriots as video evidence. With a chance to force Tom Brady to drive the length of the field needing a touchdown, Manning looked for OBJ in the endzone.
Instead of walking of the field a conquering hero, OBJ didn’t maintain possession throughout the play and the call was changed to incomplete. Even worse was the idea of Beckham easing up a little after he had thought he caught it.
It almost looked like he was planning out which celebration dance to do instead of securing the ball in such a critical moment.
The Giants wound up kicking the field goal and losing by a single point, because, of course, Brady drove his offense for the necessary game-winning field goal.
The best in the NFL makes those plays. It’s that simple.
Credit Beckham for shouldering the blame after the loss. He faced members of the media like a leader should and manned up for the non-catch. Still though, the point has either clearly been made or now has you thinking just a little bit.
Guys who want to be called the absolute best in the business need to loom larger than Beckham has. Considering he’s showcased “alligator-arms” many times in his short NFL career; has allowed emotions to get the better of him and act out in petulant child-like displays; and hasn’t come up with the “Big Catch” to win the game for his team yet; OBJ can only consider himself really good.
Not the best.
The best goes hard over the middle with no fear. The best in the NFL steals games, not highlights with his brilliance.
Remember, it seems every time Beckham Jr. makes one of these filthy highlight-reel catches, the Giants lose. It happened last year on the night of “The Catch,’ happened last week against the Washington Redskins, and even happened today against the Jets.
What fans need to realize is Brandon Marshall’s game winning “box out” type catch to tie the game holds so much more weight than a one-handed act of wizardry in the first-quarter.
There is more work to do for the kid.
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