The Giants essentially had their playoff dreams dashed with Sunday night’s primetime31-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. But through the dark clouds during this six-game losing streak, a ray of light should give Big Blue and its backers some hope for the future – wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
The sensational rookie receiver has been so good this year, and was so electric in defeat, that even the Cowboys had to give respect.
“We feel particularly fortunate that he didn’t get to beat us,” said a relieved Dez Bryant.
The temperamental Dallas wideout had a great game himself, as he notched seven receptions for 82 yards and two scores, including the game-winning 13-yard touchdown reception with 1:01 remaining in the game.
But it was Beckham (game-highs of 10 receptions and 146 yards to go with his two touchdowns) who stole the show and was the best player on the field, Sunday night.
His twisting, one-handed 43-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the second quarter will be talked about for years.
“He’s got a gift, no doubt. They’ll talk about that catch for a long time. I’ve seen him make a lot of one-handed catches, to be honest with you, but none like that where he’s falling down like that and being able to snatch the ball,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “And to stay in bounds while being fouled, that was quite a thing, too … Any time a player makes a play like that, it’s an inspiration to the entire team. He gives us a great spark and always seems to inject [excitement into] the sideline.”
Obviously the Giants (3-8) wanted to desperately win the game and keep their slim playoff hopes alive, but New York is happy to have a building block in place for the future.
And Beckham is the jewel that Big Blue will treasure as yet another campaign ends earlier than desired.
Beckham’s one-handed touchdown catch down the sideline, as he was being mauled by cornerback Brandon Carr, was something that’ll live forever in Giants’ lore. It may have ultimately come in vain, but it was such a sensational reception, that even quarterback Eli Manning said it belongs “up there” with other famous Big Blue receptions.
“Both were pretty spectacular,” Manning said, comparing Beckham’s grab with the famous David Tyree helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII. “It was pretty spectacular to see his adjustment to the ball and get one hand up there while getting interfered with.”
The scoreboard is what interfered with Beckham’s great night. The end result was especially disappointing considering the Giants essentially won every statistic, save for the final score. New York held a 35:07 to 24:53 lead in time of possession. They gained 417 total yards to 385 by Dallas. They had 27 first downs to 18 by Dallas.
And despite all of that, coupled with the incendiary heat generated by Beckham, they managed to lose again.
The rookie put the night – and catch – into proper perspective.
“I was thinking just hold onto the ball. The ball couldn’t have been put anywhere else. It was a perfect spiral, so a ball like that makes it easier to catch,” Beckham said, adding what was most important to him. “I hope it’s not my greatest catch of all time. I hope to have more meaningful ones [because] it really means nothing without a win. You spend several days preparing and then you lose. It’s not a good feeling.”
The unofficial ending of their season isn’t a good feeling, but at least the Giants andtheir fans have something to feel good about going forward, as they have a talented rookie wideout, who appears wise beyond his years.
Big Blue notes:
- Beckham left the game briefly in the second half to have his back tended to by the team’s trainers. He ultimately returned, without additional incident, but he admitted he was a bit worried when he initially got hurt, noting that he fractured his back in high school: “I was a little worried … Thankfully it was just a bruise.”
- Beckhamwas sensational in the first half, catching eight passes for 125 yards and both of his touchdowns. His pre-game ritual obviously paid off, as the rookie’s warm-uppractice of snaring one-handed catches is customary.
- Among thenotable inactives were tackle Justin Pugh, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, and linebacker Jacquian Williams.
- GuardCharles Brown, who filled in ineptly for Pugh last week, was released over the weekend.
- TheGiants have five games remaining – Jacksonville, Tennessee, Washington, St. Louis, and Philadelphia – and they’ll need to run the table to even get to a .500 record.