Odell Beckham was back, and the Giants offense still was awful.
Beckham, the Giants’ star receiver, made his season debut Monday night after missing the opening loss with a high ankle sprain of his left foot. Though Beckham did seem to give a team a lift when he ran on the field at the start of the game, it was quickly evident that he wasn’t 100 percent in what ended up being an ugly 24-10 loss.
Beckham played only 33 of the team’s 55 offensive snaps and a lot of those came in the fourth quarter, when the Giants desperately were trying to make a game of it.
In the first half he played in only nine of the team’s 20 offensive plays. He finished the game with four catches for 36 yards — his longest reception was for 16 yards — and was targeted only five times.
“I felt like a little bit of myself,” Beckham said after the game. “But I’m still not there.”
Beckham said he didn’t know until Monday whether he was going to try to play. The game was played exactly four weeks after he suffered the injury in an Aug. 21 preseason game against the Browns in Cleveland.
“Odell was fit enough to play a limited role,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said. “We just wanted to pick our spots, get him back in the mix, get him back in the fold. We wanted to be smart with him in his first game back. He hasn’t played football in a while.”
Beckham said he had no problem playing with a “pitch count.”
“Mentally, I feel like I can do anything,” Beckham said. “Physically, I don’t know how much it mattered. I got my 20 or 30 plays or whatever it was and tried to make the most of it.”
Of course, it’s hard to make the most of anything when your quarterback isn’t getting a lot of time to throw the ball. The Giants offensive line allowed Eli Manning to be sacked five times, three times by defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. He threw for 239 yards and one touchdown, with one interception.
Yet, Beckham came away from the game feeling fairly upbeat about his play and, oddly, the offense.
After scoring only three points last week, the Giants are ranked 30th in scoring offense. They managed only 270 yards Monday night, with only 62 coming on the ground. Their leaning rusher, Shane Vereen, totaled only 28 yards. The Lions did far better, rushing for 138 yards.
And for a team that had aspirations to compete for an NFC East championship, the Giants (0-2) are in last place.
“I didn’t have any setbacks today, so I want to be proactive and get as close to 100 percent as I can. So that’s what I want to do,” Beckham said. “We just need to get it together, stay positive and stay with each other. We need to just get better. Every day. It’s up to us. It’s in our hands.”