PITTSBURGH — Odell Beckham Jr. wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t blaming the officiating for the Giants’ 24-14 loss to the Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field. But the star receiver nevertheless was furious at some of the calls, even suggesting that referee Terry McAulay’s crew shouldn’t work any more Giants games because of questionable officiating Sunday and in two previous games involving the Giants. Beckham said one official told him to “get out my face” when the receiver questioned a call.
“It’s not like I’m sitting here saying the refs are the reason we lost the game, but anybody can go watch the film and see exactly what was going on,” Beckham said. “I don’t think we should have this crew anymore when the Giants are playing, with the past history and everything that’s going on.”
McAulay’s crew worked last year’s Giants-Panthers game, in which Beckham and then-Panthers cornerback Josh Norman had several run-ins. The same crew worked the Giants-Redskins game earlier this season and Beckham again was involved in some altercations with Norman, who now plays for Washington. Beckham also threw a fit on the sideline in that game and flung his helmet into the kicking net, only to have the net hit him in the face. McAulay did not work that game because of an illness.
Beckham was particularly angry Sunday about an offensive pass interference call in the first quarter. He ran a go route down the left sideline and was covered by Ross Cockrell. There was contact on the play, but Beckham was the one called for interference.
The penalty pushed the Giants back to their 5-yard line, and three plays later, left tackle Ereck Flowers was called for holding in the end zone, which gave the Steelers a safety and a 2-0 lead.
“It was a horrible call, in my opinion,” said Beckham, who led the Giants with 10 catches for 100 yards but didn’t have a touchdown. “I don’t understand how I’m running down the field on a ‘go’ route and someone tries to stop my progress but I can’t put my hands on them.”
Beckham said he asked one official, whom he didn’t identify, to ask for an explanation of the call.
“He said, ‘Get out my face,’ ” Beckham said. “I haven’t really heard that [before]. I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. I’m trying to just play football the way I love playing football, and it’s hard. It almost feels like a disrespect thing. I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong so I don’t do it again, and you’re going to sit there and tell me, ‘Get out my face’? I don’t really understand that. That’s not really how I was raised. But again, I don’t want anybody to sit here and misquote me and say I’m saying the refs are the reason we lost the game, because that’s clearly not the reason we lost the game. The Steelers, they’re a very good team, and they beat us.”
If the officials were favoring the Steelers, the statistics didn’t show that; the Giants were penalized four times for 24 yards and the Steelers were flagged 12 times for 115 yards.