EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** None of the millions of people watching the Giants-Cowboys game Sunday night had ever seen a catch like the one made by Odell Beckham Jr. and likely expect never to see one again.
But Beckham has other ideas.
"I hope it's not the greatest catch of all time," Beckham said of his spectacular 43-yard touchdown. "I hope I can make more."
Even if he somehow works more miracles, Beckham's incredible catch will be replayed and discussed for years. Dwight Clark made "The Catch" in San Francisco 33 years ago and it is still shown regularly in highlights packages. The shelf life of Beckham's grab will surely be as long.
Unfortunately, Beckham's heroics are attached to a negative underside. Although he scored two touchdowns, the Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night in MetLife Stadium, 31-28, their sixth consecutive loss.
"It really means nothing without a win," Beckham said. "We still go home at the end of the day with a loss. That's not fulfilling."
"It's pretty spectacular," said Eli Manning, who threw the pass. "It's too bad we couldn't get a win and have the catch, but it's an unbelievable catch and great play by him and concentration and going up with one hand and snagging that. He's a playmaker, he makes a lot of big plays for us. Hopefully, it will continue."
It's hard to imagine it won't.
"He's got a gift, there's no doubt," coach Tom Coughlin said. "I've seen him make a lot of one-handed catches, to be honest with you. But none falling down like that, going away and being able to snatch the ball like that and then stay in bounds after being fouled. That was quite a thing, too. It gave us a great spark and it does that when people make plays like that. It excites the sideline and the team gets excited about it and we were."
Beckham, the Giants' first-round draft choice this year, etched himself into franchise lore on the first play of the second quarter. The Giants had a first down at the Dallas 43-yard line when Beckham lined up on to the right and streaked down the sideline. At the five he was hit so hard by cornerback Brandon Carr, two officials threw their flags.
While that happened, Manning's pass was soaring toward the end zone. Beckham spun so he faced where the ball was coming from. He threw up his right hand, then leaped as if he was about to do a backflip. The ball settled in his hand – actually, he needed just his thumb and two fingers – and Beckham somehow secured it for an unforgettable touchdown that was verified by replay.
"I guess I have to thank my mom for the long fingers," Beckham said. "Her hands are maybe half an inch shorter than mine. I know I felt it on those three fingers and tried my best to pull it in."
"I knew he caught it," Manning said. "I could see. He does that, he practices that one-handed snag. He's got big hands and great concentration and he can make those plays. That was a pretty great one."
Within minutes, Twitter was blowing up with everyone from Victor Cruz to LeBron James to Richard Sherman calling it the greatest catch they'd ever seen or lauding Beckham.
"Somebody told me LeBron tweeted about it," Beckham said. "He's one of my favorite athletes, so that does mean something."
Frame by Frame photos of Odell Beckham Jr.'s TDs
Regarding the tweet from Cruz, the Giants' injured receiver, Beckham said, "That's just huge, especially coming from Vic, a big brother, a guy who has looked out for me. He's down right now. I know I remember when he went down I said I was playing for him. I told him I was going to try and do my best like he always does. I'm gonna go out every day and give it my all."
Beckham's other teammates were similarly impressed.
"That's the best catch I think I've ever seen in my years of playing," safety Antrel Rolle said. "I will say it surprised me, but nothing surprises me with that guy. He's a phenomenal talent, it's something that he works on each and every day. He works on it in warmups, so for him it's just another day in the park. For us, it's live. He's a playmaker, he's hungry, he has a lot of passion for the game. I don't see one guy stopping him."
"That kid is going to be really special," running back Rashad Jennings said. "I was saying that in OTAs. That doesn't surprise me. That is the best catch I've ever seen on the field. I was on the sideline, I looked, and thought we were playing a video game. That was a great catch. That's the kind of player he is and that's the kind of quarterback we have to get the ball to him when we protect him."
Giants receivers have now made two of the great and most memorable catches in NFL history – David Tyree's helmet grab in Super Bowl XLII and Beckham's Sunday night special. Manning threw both passes.
"Both of them were pretty spectacular," Manning said. "I guess you've got to throw it just bad enough where they've got to make a great catch. It was pretty spectacular to see his adjustment to the ball and getting held, to be falling backwards and just put one hand up there and snag it, that was pretty impressive. Obviously Tyree's, under the circumstances of a Super Bowl and jumping up with a guy all over him and holding on to his helmet…both of them were pretty good."
We can only hope there are encores.