You are probably sick of the antics. The screaming at officials, the fighting with every cornerback he sees, the pouting. It’s all bothersome and tiresome, and somebody on the coaching staff should tell him to knock it off.
But that is not what the Odell Beckham Jr. experience is about. The incredibly gifted third-year wunderkind out of LSU continues to dominate between the white lines, and then goes off once outside them. Whether it’s a temper tantrum or making out with a kicking net, you never know what’s around the corner with this enigmatic, brilliant and paradoxical superstar.
On Sunday, Good Beckham came to play. With the Giants in a de facto must-win against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium, the All-Pro showed why he’s the best around. After a quiet first half that left Beckham with a smarting hip, the youngster put on a performance that electrified the Metro Area and turned the Giants back into playoff contenders.
Let’s look at each of his two touchdowns to attempt an understanding of what transpired.
It’s the third quarter and Baltimore is leading 13-10. New York comes out 1st and 10 from its own 25-yard line with “11” personnel. Beckham is isolated on the top side with Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz on the left side of the formation.
Baltimore is in a Cover 2 look with nickel personnel, but it’lll end up being Cover 1 with zone principals underneath from the middle linebacker. It’s straight man coverage on the receivers with the defense calling to rush four.
This is where everything gets wild. Safety Eric Weddle never gets to the middle. At the bottom of the screen, Shepard and Cruz are tied up. Beckham (circled above) is running a double move, selling the hitch before running a go route. Eli Manning is doing a great job of looking off the safety in Weddle, who is reading the quarterback’s eyes and drifting toward the boundary away from Beckham.
At this point, a good throw from Manning spells six points. Weddle still has his hips square to the line of scrimmage while Beckham has broken out of his initial move for the go route. Cornerback Will Davis does not have the talent or speed to keep up with Beckham, who has both the space and angles to work with.
Manning is loading up, knowing this is easy money with Beckham in single coverage with no help over the top.
The race is on. Davis dives and misses, leaving Weddle to chase down Beckham. Weddle has the angle, but…
Beckham’s speed is nasty.
It’s 4th and 1 from the New York 34-yard line, with the Giants trailing 23-20 and a 1:36 to go in regulation. Again, New York is in “11” personnel with a running back and tight end. Once again, Beckham is the only receiver on his side, but note tight end Larry Donnell also being on that side of the formation. He’s in-line.
Baltimore is playing the exact same defense from the first touchdown. The only difference is that the Ravens are putting Weddle in man coverage and dropping Lardarius Webb very deep to protect against the bomb.
Look at the coverage across the frame. The middle is sealed off by two defenders while Donnell and Beckham has defenders in their pockets. Webb is 15 yards clear of everyone. However, the Giants are running crossing slants at the bottom of the screen (rub route) and it’s about to pay huge dividends.
Also, it is worth noting that Manning is cocking his arm for a throw to Beckham. He once again knows it’s man-to-man with no help coming.
The game ends here, but the Ravens don’t know it yet. Beckham catches the ball at this point and has absolutely nothing but green grass, a panicked Webb and eventually the end zone between him and a celebration with the kicking net.
On the rub route (it was legal), Jimmy Smith and Weddle bump knees and go down. Had they not have, Smith likely allows the completion but makes the tackle immediately. Instead, Beckham is off to the races. The only hope to tackle him is Webb, who’s standing at his own 40-yard line.
Beckham smartly runs straight upfield, forcing Webb to come across. The safety’s only hope is to slow Beckham down and wait for help. When that doesn’t come, the following happens…
Webb overcommits (hips square to the boundary), Beckham puts his right foot in the ground and cuts diagonally across his face. It’s a 66-yard game-winning touchdown.
All told, Beckham went for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight catches despite a painful hip. The Giants are now 3-3 and back in the NFC East race, readying themselves for a trip to London this weekend and the Los Angeles Rams.
There are ample distractions with Beckham. He’s worth all of them.