Odell Beckham Jr. said he had an “anxious” feeling throughout the first half against the Bears on Sunday. Not because of the way the Giants’ offense was functioning (which wasn’t very well) but because he knew what was coming in the game plan.
“Coach [Mike] Shula came up to me before the game and was like, ‘Can you throw a wet ball with your gloves on?’ ” Beckham said Thursday. “And I was like, ‘Coach, don’t worry about it. I got this.’ ”
Turned out he did. Beckham threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard early in the third quarter to give the Giants the lead in what became an overtime win. It was the second touchdown pass of the season for Beckham, making him the first player in NFL history to record that in the same season in which he had at least 1,000 receiving yards.
“Any time I get a chance to throw the ball, I love it,” Beckham said. “I think QB is maybe the most fun position. I know it’s a lot of work and it’s very hard, but there is no feeling like throwing a touchdown pass. Catching one is cool, but throwing one is a lot more special.”
Shula, the offensive coordinator, joked that the team held tryouts among the receivers to see who would throw the passes on such trick plays.
“All receivers think they can throw very accurately,” Shula said. “They can make all the throws. And then it’s never their fault if it doesn’t get completed.”
There may be more opportunities to do it. Shula said the Giants have “a couple” such plays that utilize Beckham’s ability to chuck the ball. “They’ve been good so far to us,” Shula said. “Odell’s done a nice job.”
Beckham said he doesn’t need to warm up his arm before those plays are called, but there are some things that must be considered before a pass.
“You have to watch your body language on any play, but more specifically on that,” Beckham said. “I don’t want to give it away like I’m about to do something tricky . . . [Shula] was like, ‘Don’t go adjusting your gloves and letting them know you’re going to throw it.’ Don’t worry about it. I’m going to throw this ball. Either way it goes, I’m going to make a play.”
Sunday’s play also took advantage of another of Beckham’s skills: improvisation. The pass was supposed to go to Bennie Fowler, but the Bears double-teamed him. Beckham pulled the ball in and was going to take off and run (“I wasn’t going to throw it away. I don’t want to mess up my perfect QBR”) when he saw Shepard open down the middle. Shepard was supposed to block but wound up running the route.
“I remember thinking, ‘This can’t be real,’ ” Beckham said. “We looked at each other. I mean, this is my guy. I went to college with him, he helped me become the man I am today. He was always there for me. To be able to throw it to him, of all people.
“I called him after the game and I was like, ‘Bro, I feel like I had a terrible game. There are things I could have done. But you made my day. That made my day to see you catch a touchdown.’ It was a good feeling.”
Notes & quotes: The Giants put S Landon Collins (shoulder) on injured reserve and elevated DB Kenny Ladler from the practice squad . . . RB Jonathan Stewart (foot) reverted to IR after practicing with the team for three weeks as a player designated to return. The deadline to activate him was Thursday . . . TE Evan Engram (hamstring), WR Sterling Shepard (ribs) and LB Lorenzo Carter (hip) participated fully in Thursday’s practice. LB Tae Davis (ankle) was the only Giant who did not practice . . . S Michael Thomas was named the Giants’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee . . . The Giants added Brock Miller to the practice squad, giving them a left-footed punter to help them prepare for Washington punter Tress Way.