When the local NFC East team takes its show on the road to St. Louis next week, it might have to resist the temptation to bill itself as "Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants."
But there's no question who the squad's current headliner is.
Beckham continued his otherworldly rookie season with another sensational performance Sunday in the Giants' 24-13 victory over the Washington Redskins in MetLife Stadium.
He scored all three of the Giants' touchdowns on receptions of 10, 35 and six yards. Beckham's 12 receptions tied for the highest total ever by a Giants wide receiver and was one less than the team record for all players (set by running back Tiki Barber 15 years ago). He increased his season total to 972 yards, a Giants rookie record – with two games remaining.
"That is great," Beckham said. "That is something that is always in the back of your mind. I didn't know exactly what it was until somebody told me today. That has a lot to do with the way we have been playing these last couple of games. It is an honor."
Beckham also leads the team with 71 receptions and nine touchdowns, leaving fans, coaches and teammates to wonder what his numbers would be if he hadn't missed the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury.
"The young man is having outstanding success," coach Tom Coughlin said. "When we are getting the ball to him, he's doing very well with it. He's a very
good football player. He has the ability to go the distance, I think, any time he gets it – whether as a punt returner or as an offensive player. He can run the football; he can throw the football, so we've tried to create a lot of situations. He does have the talent to exploit the defense in a lot of different ways."
Beckham has played 10 games this season. In five of them, he totaled more than 100 receiving yards, a Giants rookie record. His streak of seven consecutive games with at least 90 yards is an NFL rookie record. Beckham has the second-highest touchdown total of any rookie in Giants history, topped only by Bill Swiacki, who scored 10 – 66 years ago.
"Nothing this guy does amazes me at this point," safety and 10-year veteran Antrel Rolle said. "He's a phenomenal talent and, more importantly, I think he has the attitude and passion that this game deserves and that this team needs. He tries to go out there and be the best of the best each and every time on the field. He has a lot of goals in mind and he's trying to reach them."
"I think you don't want to get his head too big too early right now, but he's got a lot of skill," quarterback Eli Manning said. "He's got skills and you just hope to keep working, keep grinding, and keep getting the little things correct. There's definitely some room for improvement still, just on decisions and understanding the offense to its fullest. And that's me, as well, us getting on the same page with things. So hopefully we can continue to do that."
Manning apparently doesn't have to worry about Beckham's hat size. He continues to say all the right things and not portray any conceit.
"You keep going with the punches," Beckham said. "Whatever is thrown at you is whatever situation you are going to be in. For me, it's about making the most of the opportunities and whatever chance I get, to just make the most out of it."
He did that against Washington. On a third-and-eight in the first quarter, he walled off cornerback E.J. Biggers and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Manning in the right front corner of the end zone.
In the third quarter, the Redskins defense somehow lost track of Beckham, who was wide open when he caught the ball at the 25 and beat everyone to the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown. That score gave the Giants the lead for good at 17-13.
"It was a normal play for us," Beckham said. "Eli made a check to the tight end and gave me the post route to try and occupy the safety. The slant came open late and it just looked like a lot of open field, so I tried to run as fast as I could."
Beckham later had a touchdown nullified by Justin Pugh's holding penalty. But on the
Giants' next possession, he caught a six-yard pass for his third score of the game.
Beckham is now within sight of 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, two figures that seemed unlikely when he missed the first four games with a hamstring injury.
"I set the expectations as high as possible," Beckham said. "I hate settling for anything less. I wouldn't expect anything less for myself. There are a lot of guys on the team that even though I missed those four games – Antrel came up to me from the minute I got back out on the field and said, 'You still owe me 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.' That stuff is always in the back of your mind when you're playing. But you really have to focus on each and every play because you never know when it could be your last."
Beckham was not perfect Sunday. Early in the fourth quarter, he carried the ball on an end-around and was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-one. And he was responsible for the Giants' only turnover when he
View photos from Odell Beckham Jr.'s record setting day vs. Washington
muffed a punt with nine seconds left in the game.
"That is something to take from the game and learn from," Beckham said. "Earlier on in the game, I was frustrated. Just being a young player and trying to keep your head in the game, there were plays, I think it was a third down earlier in the game and I didn't get both feet inbounds. The throw in the corner of the end zone, I feel that I should have caught. There was another one I feel that I should have caught. It doesn't matter what it is. Whenever I get a chance to make a play, I feel that it should be made."
No one on the Giants – or in the NFL – is making more plays right now than Beckham.
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