Russell Shepard was all by himself downfield, waving and waiting for the guy with the ball to spot him and let it fly. Then Odell Beckham Jr., a superstar receiver-turned-passer, saw him.
The ball touched down softly in Shepard’s hands at the 5, and he backpedaled to the 1 before turning around and walking in to complete the 49-yard touchdown.
Then Beckham went back to his regular job. He not only threw a touchdown pass but caught one, and the Giants went on to beat the NFC North-leading Bears, 30-27, in overtime Sunday at MetLife Stadium to improve to 4-8.
“As a team, we put it all together and found a way to beat a very good team,” Beckham said.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Beckham became the first player since 1924 to have multiple games with a touchdown reception and a touchdown pass in one season. He also did it in the Week 5 loss at Carolina.
This touchdown pass came early in the third quarter with the Giants trailing 14-10. Eli Manning pitched the ball to Beckham circling back after lining up on the left side. He ran right, looking for Bennie Fowler, who was double-covered. Beckham pondered taking off but then decided to go to Shepard, who was a teammate at LSU.
“I saw him down the middle of the field and I was like, ‘This can’t be real,’ and I just launched it to him,” Beckham said.
Beckham threw it 50 yards in the air to beat the fooled secondary, which had left Shepard wide open. “I freelanced it,” Shepard said. “Yes, I did.”
Manning, who hit Beckham for a 1-yard score later in the quarter, came away impressed.
“He can throw it,” Manning said. “ . . . He did a good job today of going through his progressions. He went one, not open, run, not open, throw it deep. It was the old 60-yard checkdown. We like those.”
What Beckham didn’t like were questions about his effort on an onside kick that the Bears recovered before scoring a touchdown with no time remaining and forcing OT. Beckham didn’t dive after it. “It was a great kick,” he said. “ . . . I could dive in there and still not get the ball . . . You can question me as a person, as a man, whatever you want to do, but my heart and my effort can never be questioned, ever.”