Odell Beckham Jr. showed that he doesn’t have to do great things on the field to draw attention.
Even on a night when he produced a barely noticeable six catches for 44 yards in a 34-13 loss to the Eagles, the Giants receiver was in the middle of a few lightning rod moments that included his leaving the field early before halftime (to receive an IV, he and the Giants said) and a run-in with a huge industrial fan on the sideline.
At least his words were muted after the game, as he carefully sidestepped any controversy less than a week after being fined by the team for his unflattering remarks in a now notorious ESPN interview.
Asked his level of surprise at the Giants laying an egg in a game they themselves had built up with so much importance, Beckham said: “I don’t really know how to answer that. I just know they came out and played better than we did.”
He gave a lot of “keep working harder,” “keep digging,” and “keep going” quotes too. He held his tongue longer than he held the football in the game.
As for the two mini-controversies, Beckham and Pat Shurmur both said the IV was to treat dehydration just before the half. That left the Giants without Beckham to run a play with two seconds left in the second quarter.
“I was cramping, so I was trying to get an IV,” Beckham said. “The halftime break is really only 5 or 10 minutes. If I can use a couple of extra seconds to go and get an IV and come out, that’s really all it was.”
He was shown coming out for the third quarter with a bandage on the inside of his arm.
As for the run-in with the fan, which he head-butted and appeared to be yelling at and sparring with, Beckham said it was part of trying to get himself fired up for the second half.
“I was trying to get myself going,” he said. “I feel like some of those plays right after I was getting myself going was some of my best stuff. I was trying to get myself fired up, I did that, and it helped me. There was a lot of things that had me fired up. Like I said, it helped me bring out the energy. I don’t know a way around it but to get myself going.”
Shurmur said he did not see the incident, which, of course, was captured by the ever-present cameras pointed at Beckham.
“He can’t do that,” Shurmur said. “He shouldn’t do that.”
The bigger problem for the Giants on Thursday was Beckham’s lack of impact on the game, not his impact on an inanimate fan.
“They were clouding Odell,” Shurmur said.
“Same thing that every other team is doing,” Beckham said of the Eagles’ scheme. “It’s that two-man with the safety over the top. When I was inside, they had the safety over there. When I ran across the field, he was cutting me off, a lot of double covers. They had a very good game plan, they executed it very well . . . Their game plan was to not allow me to have any big plays, keep everything in front, safety over the top doubling.”
It made for a quiet night for Beckham. Relatively.