EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Odell Beckham Jr. is one of many Giants players who would like to forget their first meeting this season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"It was just one of those games where things weren't going right for us," Beckham said today. "It was hard for all of us to get involved."
Or, as fellow rookie Andre William said, "I think everybody could have played better. We laid an egg."
The final score confirms that. On Oct. 12, Philadelphia inflicted a 27-0 beating on the Giants, who suffered their worst loss of the season. Beckham made his first career start in that game and finished with season-low totals of two catches for 28 yards. He did not score a touchdown. The Giants gained only 253 yards, their second-lowest total of the season.
"We've got to make some plays offensively," quarterback Eli Manning said. "The first time we played them, we had some opportunities to hit some big plays and we just didn't quite get to them. They did a good job of getting some pressure on some things, but I think everyone has got to play a little bit better and make some plays."
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"It starts up front," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said. "We need to block them, the offensive line and tight ends. We need to block them up and we need to run the ball well. It all starts there. It all starts up front. We need to execute better on the perimeter, take shots when available and we need to execute."
Both the offense and Beckham have come a long way since that night. The Giants have averaged 377 yards and 24.6 points a game. Beckham, of course, has become one of the NFL's best and most popular receivers. He has set Giants rookie records with 79 catches for 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Beckham today received his third Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week Award for his performance last week in St. Louis, where he caught eight passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns, including a Giants rookie-record 80-yarder.
Beckham would like to add a big game against Philadelphia to his resume. On Sunday, he'll get an opportunity and the Giants will have a chance to end the season with a four-game winning streak and reverse the bad memories from the game two months ago when they host the Eagles in the season finale.
"I am definitely excited," Beckham said. "I was just getting back into it and we didn't come out and play well. They came out and played extremely well. They did a lot of things right and we didn't. Not revenge, but 27-0 leaves a bad taste in your mouth."
Although the Giants' season is ending Sunday, it's very likely Beckham's will continue. This week, he was voted the first alternate wide receiver to the Pro Bowl. If any of the eight receivers selected for the game cannot play, Beckham is first in line to take his place. Since players from the two Super Bowl teams will be ineligible and several players don't play every year because of injuries, Beckham is almost certain to be added.
"That would be huge," he said. "It is obviously a goal. To get there and to see it happen and make first alternate is a huge accomplishment. Everyone was saying that I should have been in it. To me, really, I always say, 'What God has for you no man can take.' So if I am supposed to be in it, then I'll be in it. If I am not, then that is motivation to work harder next year."
In Beckham's mind, his numerous achievements this season are not unexpected. But he did not anticipate so much else about his rookie season.
"I am surprised at just being in the NFL in general – the atmosphere, the vibes and everything," Beckham said. "The whole experience was surprising to me. It is everything I could have imagined and everything I could have asked for. I do like to set the goals and expectations very high for myself. It would take a lot to surprise me."
Asked the biggest thing he has learned, Beckham said, "If you find a way to let this game slow down to you, it will be a lot easier. I feel throughout the season, it did that. The biggest thing for me is definitely going to be patience."
Beckham's 1,120 yards lead all rookie receivers. His 79 catches tie Miami's Jarvis Landry, who is Beckham's former LSU teammate and one of his closest friends. The 11 touchdown catches tie Tampa Bay's Mike Evans for the highest total among NFL rookies. With a big game on Sunday, Beckham can finish the season as the rookie leader in all three categories, an accomplishment made more significant by the fact that he missed the first four games with a hamstring injury.
"Of course, it would be nice," Beckham said. "That is always in the back of your mind. Obviously, the goal is always to win. Just take every play as if it were your last. Jarvis called me the other day and we were talking about that. He was saying, 'You've got to go hard Sunday.' I know how he is coming. I know how he is. It is a loving competition. I am looking forward to Sunday."
- Rookie linebacker Devon Kennard will not play in the season finale Sunday because of a toe injury he suffered last week in St. Louis.
Andre Williams was limited in practice and is questionable with a shoulder injury, but Tom Coughlin said he is confident Williams will play.
Linebackers Jameel McClain (knee) and Paul Hazel (hamstring) and running back Rashad Jennings (ankle) were all limited but are probable.