Odell Beckham Jr. has his huge contract. He has his health and his speed back after undergoing ankle surgery last October. He has his production, having caught 11 passes for 111 yards in the opener and contributing even more yardage on plays when the Jaguars were penalized trying to cover him.
But there is something missing. Something that he hasn’t experienced in over 20 months.
The last time Beckham came off the field victorious was on Jan. 1, 2017, when the Giants beat the Redskins in the regular-season finale. Since then, he’s been on the losing side of a playoff game, four 2017 regular-season games and last week’s opener. Even the one preseason game he played in last year when he initially injured his ankle against the Browns wound up being a Giants loss.
It is, undoubtedly, the longest losing streak of his life.
“I need that,” Beckham said on Thursday. “There’s no feeling like winning. Just the overall feeling of everyone in the locker room when we did what we had to do . . . Everybody here wants to win.”
Beckham has put up unbelievable numbers throughout his career. The only thing that isn’t impressive on his on-field resume is the number of wins. In the 48 regular-season games Beckham has played, the Giants are 21-27.
Clearly, not all of that is his fault. But the strange thing is that the better Beckham plays, the worse the Giants’ chances seem to be in winning those games. Sunday’s game against the Jaguars was the 20th of Beckham’s career with at least 100 receiving yards, and the Giants are 7-13 in those games, a winning percentage of .350. That of course leaves 28 games in which he has had fewer than 100 receiving yards. In those games, the Giants are 14-14 (.500).
The iconic one-handed catch against the Cowboys in 2014? A loss. The diving one-handed touchdown grab against Washington a year later? Loss. The longest catch-and-run of his career, an 87-yarder against the Patriots in 2015? You guessed it.
“Maybe I need to do more, then,” Beckham said. “You can put together a 100-yard game, but if you are not putting points on the board then it’s hard to win games. We need to put more points on the board. If I need to step up and do more then I’ll step up and do more. And that’s what I plan on doing.”
The last time Beckham had 100 or more receiving yards and the Giants won was in a victory over the Ravens on Oct. 16, 2016. He finished that game with 222 receiving yards and needed every one of them to get the win. He caught a short pass on fourth-and-1 and single-handedly delivered a 66-yard touchdown with 1:24 left that gave the Giants a 27-23 victory.
There were opportunities for him to make such game-changing plays on Sunday. Two of them were on passes that Eli Manning did not connect with him. Two others were on plays when the Jaguars were flagged for either pass interference or holding. Asked what would have happened if he had not been illegally interfered with by the defense, Beckham raised his arms to signal a touchdown.
That may soon become a strategy teams take with Beckham, fouling him to keep him out of the end zone.
“Like Hack-a-Shaq,” Beckham said, chuckling.
Beckham said he already has a celebration planned for his first touchdown of the season, but he declined to give any details. That revelation will have to wait until he finds the end zone. Just like the revelry that will undoubtedly come when Beckham finally wins a game.
Maybe both will happen on Sunday night against the Cowboys.
“We plan to come out and win,” he said. “That’s always the goal: to win. I hate losing anything, whether it’s cards against [Sterling] Shepard over there or [Jonathan] Stewart, I don’t like losing.”
It's been a while since he's experienced anything but.