Odell Beckham Jr. has been better about taking the bait from opposing players and Getty Images

In a game hehe was baited, where the other team was trying to push his buttons, it was instead a restrained, suddenly-mature Odell Beckham Jr. who showed that he is ready for the playoffs. Beckham finally acting like a man that has this New York Giants team pointed in the right direction, this after a tough 19-10 win at the Washington Redskins.

The story of Beckham and his emotions is well-known, of course. This is a player who undoubtedly is known around the league for his lack of restraint. Yet it was Beckham, on Sunday, who took the high road in moments where, earlier this season, he might have lashed out.

In the past, Beckham has been lured into physical contests and altercations with Washington cornerback Josh Norman -dating back to last year’s infamous tussle when Norman was a Carolina Panther. They had some tussles in their first meeting, but on SundayNorman wasagain attempting to lure Beckham into some antics.

And why not? Beckham after all has shown that he can be petulant at times, immature and prone to the kind of outbursts that can minimize his contributions as the greatest asset on the Giants roster. He’s done it before and Norman, in a game where Washington needed a win to get into the playoffs, was trying to play this advantage.


Norman didn’t succeed, this time though, despite his best attempts to get under Beckham’s skin.

Beckham didn’t lash out when Norman started chirping. He didn’t retaliate when the Washington cornerback took a couple shots at him. No kicking nets were attacked, no walls slammed with his head. Instead he walked away. In the second quarter, Norman hitBeckham out of bounds and the Giants wide receiver didn’t bite. He simply jogged back onto the field. A head-butt by Norman didn’t even get Beckham’s ire.

Cool. Calm. Collected.

A playoff state of mind.

If Beckham had lost it, gone mental on the sidelines, then the whole league would have been on notice and the four potential teams that they could haveplayed in the NFC wild card round would have been taking notice. He’s proven to be susceptible to moments of mental and emotional weakness, hurting not himself but becoming a distraction in every meaning of the word. For the only player in the NFL who can take Odell Beckham out of agame is Odell Beckham.

In his showing of maturity, however, Beckham showed that he is ready for the playoffs. More than just his solid production in one half of play where he had five catches for 44 yards, Beckham’s demeanor and mental strength showed someone ready for the postseason. He didn’t throw a fit when head coach Ben McAdoo sat him in the second, choosing to rest his star player who is a bit banged up.

When Giants super-fan Joe Ruback yelled to Beckham from the stands and asked him if he was going back in the game, Beckham didn’t whine and cry. He didn’t mouth off. There was no scene. Nothing for the cameras to catch, and nothing for talk radio to yak about all week.

Instead, he threw some wrapped up athletic tape at Ruback. Fitting on a day where he didn’t throw in the towel when Norman tried to get him to check-out of the game.

Now, for the first time in his NFL career - he’s ready to check into the playoffs.

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