Welcome back to the NFL spotlight, Odell Beckham Jr.
When the LA Rams signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., there were no welcome mats laid to commemorate the event. The Rams fanbase was tentative, at best, at bringing in a wide receiver whose reputation was convoluted. Many of the narratives made public about OBJ described a me-first type of player.
Of course, he who controls the narrative gets to write history. In this case, the narrative was written by the Cleveland Browns. Right narrative? Wrong narrative? You decide.
But one of the problems with OBJ’s experience with the Browns was the likelihood of his career prematurely fading away into the sunset. After a 1000 yard season, he found himself with 319 yards in 2020 and just 212 yards in six games. He wanted out. Who could blame him?
Despite the lukewarm reception, the LA Rams clearly needed him. Just days after he was signed, the LA Rams lost one of their favorite players, WR Robert Woods, for the season due to injury. In eight games, OBJ has been a steady contributor. He has caught 27 of 48 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns.
Playoff OBJ > regular season OBJ
Odell Beckham Jr.’s first playoff game since 2016 has not gotten a great deal of coverage. His one and only appearance prior to his playoff performance with the Rams resulted in four receptions (11 targets) for 28 yards. He was also involved in special teams, returning two kickoffs for 48 yards. His team, the New York Giants team, lost to the Green Bay Packers 38-13.
The stage was set for a good showing by Odell Beckham Jr. The Arizona Cardinals had a number of defensive backs trained to focus upon Rams WR Cooper Kupp. That allowed quarterback Matthew Stafford to target OBJ four times for four completions, good for 54 yards, and a touchdown.
But the real highlight play happened in the second half. On a first down and 10-yards to go from the LA Rams 49-yard line, quarterback Matthew Stafford lateraled the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., who immediately loaded up and hurled the football to running back Cam Akers for 40 yards, all the way down to the Cardinals 11-yard line. Two plays later, Stafford found WR Cooper Kupp for a 7-yard touchdown pass.