NEW ORLEANS - Odell Beckham Jr.'s homecoming festivities included a dance (three of them, in fact -- one after each of his touchdown receptions), but he left New Orleans on Sunday without the victory he was hoping to help the Giants secure.
"It was definitely exciting to be able to come back home," Beckham said after the Giants' 52-49 loss to the Saints on a last-second field goal. "This was only my second time to be able to play in the Dome, but it was definitely an exciting atmosphere and great to be able to come back."
The last time Beckham played here? The 2012 BCS National Championship Game, when his LSU Tigers lost to Alabama, 21-0.
"Both losses were equally bad," Beckham said. "It's not fun losing. This is definitely one of those ones that I wanted to win."
He had plenty of friends and family around to root for him to do just that, and he gave them plenty to cheer about.
He opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown catch on a fourth-and-goal slant from Eli Manning midway through the first quarter, then caught a 1-yard TD pass early in the second quarter.
Each was followed by the kind of gyrations that Beckham typically performs to accompany his scoring plays.
But his most exciting touchdown came at the start of the third quarter when Manning rolled to his right and launched a deep pass into double coverage for a 50-yard touchdown. Beckham caught the ball falling into the end zone as the Giants tied the score at 28.
He added an electrifying 38-yard catch-and-run, zigzagging through defenders, to help the Giants score the touchdown that tied the score at 42 with 9:30 remaining. Beckham finished with eight catches for a team-high 130 yards.
That was almost as impressive as the numbers put up by another Giant who grew up in New Orleans. Manning threw a career-high six touchdown passes, was not intercepted and completed 30 of 41 passes for 350 yards. His passer rating was 138.2.
"It's something that doesn't really surprise me that he came out and had the game that he had," Beckham said of Manning. "You know, he's back in his hometown as well."
Not all of the Giants' New Orleans returns were as statistically productive. They ran the spectrum from Louisiana native and LSU product Rueben Randle, who caught five passes for 55 yards, to tight end Larry Donnell (Grambling State) and running back Orleans Darkwa (Tulane), who left the game with injuries.
"It was exciting to be back in Louisiana and play in front of your family and friends," Randle said. "It just kind of [stinks] that we fell short."
Ultimately, none of the Giants, no matter where the player was from, left New Orleans happy.
"It's not the best feeling in the world, losing in general," Beckham said.
Especially not when it's in your home.