New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. played a huge role in his team’s first-round playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. In fact, Beckham’s performance was disappointing enough that one member of the opposing team wondered allowed whether he might’ve choked.
Packers linebacker Datone Jones was extremely critical of Beckham postgame, according to Bob McGinn for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, even if all he did was point out there might be some balls the three-time Pro Bowler would like to have back. That, and the suggestion that maybe Beckham wasn’t mentally prepared for his first NFL playoff game.
“Maybe the stage is too big for him,” Jones said, referring to Beckham. “You can’t drop passes in the end zone. You get no re-do’s in this league. You work all year for this stage and you kind of have to be perfect. Odell Beckham dropped a few big passes for his team.”
There’s no question Beckham did not have the type of game the Giants needed in order to advance. The third-year wideout caught just 4 passes for 28 yards and no touchdowns for his least productive outing of the season. Worse still, 7 more passes intended for Beckham fell incomplete, quite a few of which at least touched his hands.
That’s not to suggest these were all easy plays or uncontested. However, they are exactly the kind great receivers are expected to make in the playoffs, and the kind Beckham has become known for pulling off in the past, not to mention making them look easy in the process.
It’s impossible to know what was going through Beckham’s mind as this game wore on, but we’ve seen him lose his cool on the field before, and we know he lost it after the clock reached zero. Whether it was a choke job or not, who knows, although it might be fair to say the 24-year-old needs to work on his mental toughness in 2017.