He proposed to the kicking net then did a video chat on his smartphone with Deion Sanders after the game, the wild and wacky world that is Odell Beckham Jr. walking that fine line in what might be his breakout game of the year for the New York Giants.
Beckham had season highs in Sunday’s home win over the Baltimore Ravens, posting eight catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns. In a year marred by controversy and nitpicking over his performances, perhaps Beckham toed the mark perfectly in the much-needed Giants win.
He was wacky as usual, the free-spirit showing his fun-loving side in proposing to the kicking net he picked a fight with (and lost to) just three weeks earlier. Then he let the media in on his video chat with Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback and NFL Network analyst who also loved to have a good time on the field.
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But as important as the catches and touchdowns were in snapping the Giants two-game losing streak, it was the fact that Beckham didn’t snap himself in actually holding his cool as he didn’t get baited into conflict. This is the second week in a row now that Beckham has not sunk to the lowest common denominator and kept his emotions in check.
Of course Beckham did have that breakdown three games beck in his tussle with Washington cornerback Josh Norman then saw the Minnesota Vikings target his temper with some physical play, a strategy that seemed to mentally and emotionally derail the Giants All-Pro wide receiver.
But Beckham didn’t flinch on Sunday and anytime he was targeted — and he was targeted with extracurriculars — he responded on the field. He didn’t get lost in the temper and emotions that have seen his output slide this year. Instead he just put his head down and played ball.
It was the response seen from Beckham over the past two years in the league where he didn’t let his emotions run wild. If he can keep this balance between goofy and unruly then Beckham as well as the Giants have every reason for optimism.
For a player who seemed more interested this offseason in dating a Kardashian or hanging with his rap buddy Drake, Sunday was measured maturity. All of which let the NFL world enjoy his fun-loving side.
To see him propose to the kicking net that was the source of so much ridicule weeks ago or have fun chatting with an NFL legend on his phone following the game, that is the beauty that is Beckham. But it only makes sense if he is checked into the game and playing at an elite level. Anything less than Beckham at his best and these actions such as the proposal or the video chat with Sanders become antics — distractions of the highest level that become self-serving.
Instead when Beckham shows up and performs as he did against Baltimore, instead it is a player letting off some much-deserved steam and simply having fun. It is Beckham being Beckham at his best.