Everyone seems to agree that the New York Giants didn’t lose because Odell Beckham and co. spent some time on a boat in Miami before their playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. However, it doesn’t seem like this subject is going away anytime soon.
Beckham had a rough start to this season, like the Giants. His altercations with players, his meeting with the kickers net, his mini tantrums on the sidelines and off the field. He ended up producing big numbers, pretty much the only consistent figure in the Giants offense, dealing with a too-slow offensive line and a declining Eli Manning. Beckham, more than anyone else, was supposed to give the Giants the edge they needed in Green Bay, while the defense was something that carried them this far, and was going to keep carrying them through whatever they encountered in Lambeau Field.
But the Giants, despite an excellent defensive start, couldn’t take advantage of opportunities. Dropped passes by Beckham, poor decisions by Manning behind poor protection, and eventually the crumbling of their entire defensive plan while facing the once-again best quarterback in the league, led to a not-too-surprising wild card round playoff exit, but a much more painful one than anyone imagined, considering the Packers didn’t stop pushing for more touchdowns, eventually winning 38-13.
The moment the game ended and everyone took another look at Beckham’s stats (11 targets, 4 receptions, 28 yards, two big dropped passes), everyone went back to the trip to Miami. Who goes down to Miami six days before a playoff game? Beckham and his wide receiver partners do. Taking a photo without his shirt didn’t make a difference on his receptions. Sitting on a boat in the sun, compared to the wintery conditions he was going to deal with in Green Bay, had nothing to do with it. But for someone who doesn’t always react well to criticism and too much attention, especially from opposing players, this had to be one of these warning sign moments he decided to ignore and follow through anyway.
Do the Giants have a problem with Beckham? I don’t think so. He isn’t the first player in NFL history to botch up his playoff debut, assuming there will be others in the future. He seems like a lock to be one of the best receivers in the NFL for years to come, producing three consecutive seasons of 10 touchdowns or more to kick off his career, finishing with 1300 receptions yards at least in each season. He’s a stud, but one that draws a lot of attention, often in the wrong way.
The Giants should be more worried about other things. Locking up Jason Pierre-Paul. Finding a running back. Finding a solution to their two offensive tackle problems, while Manning gets older. They should worry about an NFC that’s not getting easier. The Giants missed the playoffs four consecutive years before their slightly embarrassing loss in Green Bay. An emotional Beckham will not be what prevents them from building on the success of the 2016 regular season, even if he does the best job when it comes to producing negative headlines.