NASHVILLE, Tenn. - When playing on the road, NFL players' lockers commonly are arranged in simple numerical order. That left Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and No. 10 in your program, with a bit of a problem yesterday.
Manning found himself trying to get to his street clothes through a thicket of reporters waiting to talk to the most electrifying athlete currently working in the New York area: receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who wears No. 13.
"You need to get a different locker," Manning said.
Sorry, Eli, but young Beckham isn't going anywhere anytime soon -- unless perhaps in a trade with the Jets to be their new starting quarterback. (More about that later.)
Beckham's excellent rookie adventure just keeps getting more and more excellent, complete Sunday with the latest supportive tweet from his new pal, not-so-secret admirer and recent dinner companion, LeBron James.
"Just got back to room from practice and see my young boy @OBJ_3 going in! Keep it going," LBJ wrote of OBJ.
Beckham said he even noticed more people than usual watching pregame warm-ups, eager to see his one-handed catching theatrics.
But there was something different about the Odell worship this time, something that Beckham said made his celebrity much more meaningful.
For the first time since his first NFL game Oct. 5 and the first time since he became a national star, the Giants actually won, beating the hapless Titans, 36-7, at LP Field.
"It's hard to talk about what happens when I'm playing and we lose," Beckham said. "It's not the same feeling as a win. I'm not going to lie; this feels way better."
As always, Beckham was in the middle of things. He caught 11 passes for 130 yards, including a first-quarter drive on which he outleaped Jason McCourty for a 50-yard reception to set up his 15-yard touchdown reception in traffic.
Beckham got hammered on the latter play by safety Daimion Stafford, who left to be evaluated for a concussion. "It was going to be one of us," Beckham said. "I know he took a shot and I took a shot. I pray for him."
Later, Manning narrowly missed connecting with Beckham on what would have been a 45-yard scoring pass, a near-miss OBJ said would cause him to lose sleep Sunday night.
Still, Beckham became the first rookie in NFL history with 90-plus receiving yards in six straight games. And his fourth 100-yards-plus receiving game broke Byron Williams' team rookie record of three in 1983.
Beckham also rushed one time for 9 yards and returned four punts for 49.
But it was a play that failed that was most memorable of all. Three minutes into the game, he took a pitch from Manning on an end-around and flung the ball more than 60 yards toward Rueben Randle, narrowly missing him in the end zone in tight coverage.
Wow! "Pretty good throw," Manning said. "He threw it about 65 yards pretty effortlessly."
Beckham lamented missing an open Preston Parker on his second read. "I'm not very tall," he said. (He's 5-11). "It's hard to see over those guys."
Given how it all turned out, Manning was able to take a couple of gentle jabs at his new pass-throwing partner.
"He only had two receivers on the route, so there's really only two reads," he said, adding that going through reads in practice is a little different from "when you have a defensive lineman running at you about to hit you."
He added with a smirk, "I know all the receivers want to go deep all the time, and [so] you want to throw it deep, so it's no surprise there."
The larger point was that the Giants continue to seek creative ways to get the ball in Beckham's hands, and keep defenses from giving him as much attention as LeBron, Giants fans and reporters keep doing.
"It's fun," Manning said of getting to play with his multi-talented new offensive toy. "It makes it interesting just to get the ball in his hands."
And sometimes, it's even fun watching him throw the ball out of his hand.