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Giants Q&A: Odell Beckham Jr.'s muffed punt hands Carolina a touchdown

He said he didn't think the bouncing ball hit him on the leg, but it did. 

Odell Beckham Jr. made headlines Sunday with his

Odell Beckham Jr. made headlines Sunday with his scoring plays and controversial quote about quarterback Eli Manning. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Grant Halverson

What the heck was Odell Beckham Jr. thinking when he muffed a punt that led to the Panthers’ second touchdown?

With the ball headed inside the 10 and the Panthers’ D.J. Moore closing in to down it, Beckham tried to block him from doing so. The ball hit Beckham’s left leg, and after Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple failed to recover it, the Panthers’ Colin Jones did so in the end zone.

“We have a rule that if it’s inside the 8, don’t go catch it,” Beckham said. “I could have maybe just fair caught it . . . I was trying to get a block on 12 [Moore] so he couldn’t down the ball and the ball actually checked back. I didn’t think it hit me.”   

Did it?

Yes.   

What was Beckham thinking as he prepared to throw after catching a lateral behind the line of scrimmage from Eli Manning and seeing Saquon Barkley streaking alone down the right sideline?

“All I wanted to do was not overthrow him, that’s it,” Beckham said. “I could have probably thrown it out of the back of the end zone, but I just wanted to get it to a playmaker who was going to make a play, and he did exactly that.”

Beckham’s 57-yard completion and subsequent 33-yard TD reception made him the first Giant since Frank Gifford in 1959 to throw for and catch touchdowns in the same game.

“I’m just happy that we got a chance,” he said. “They drew it up, it was perfectly executed. He caught it and finished it off, so it was a big-time play by him.”

Said Barkley: “We’ve called it before, but we had to check out of it. Odell did a great job putting the ball in the air.”   

What happened on the fourth-and-3 drop by Beckham late in the first quarter, on which Manning’s pass seemed to be on target but the ball slipped past Beckham’s fingers?

“Just a miscommunication,” Beckham said. “I was supposed to run a different route and me and another receiver were kind of in the same spot. It just happens.”   

Is Barkley OK?

He seems to be. The running back caught a pass and soared over the pylon for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:08 remaining, a picturesque leap that was part Edwin Moses, part Michael Jordan. But when he came back to Earth, the impact jarred his back. He remained on the ground for a few moments before trotting off the field.

After the game, Barkley said he will be fine and walked out of the locker room without any visible issues — “He’s fine, he’s moving around, he’s fine,” Pat Shurmur said — but with the next game Thursday, the injury bears watching.   

Barkley had 48 rushing yards and 81 receiving yards, giving him at least 100 yards from scrimmage for the fifth straight game to start his career. How many others have done that?

Just two: Adrian Peterson, who did it in five straight with the Vikings in 2001, and Kareem Hunt, who did it in seven straight with the Chiefs last year.   

Did Panthers safety Eric Reid kneel for the national anthem in protest of racial and social injustice before this game?

Yes. The safety, who was signed by the Panthers during their bye last week, returned to the NFL with the same pregame gesture he had before his prolonged absence as a free agent. None of Reid’s new teammates joined him or stood near him at midfield. He is the first Panther to kneel during the national anthem. The Panthers said they did not ask Reid about his anthem intentions when they signed him. 

With Tom Rock

New York Sports