NO CHILL: Odell Beckham Jr. Can’t Hang With Josh Norman [UPDATED]
There's always one matchup every year that catches our attention as teams approach the end of the regular season and every game has playoff implications. Heading into the Panthers vs. Giants game, it appeared that this season's knock down, drag out one-one-one would be between Panthers cornerback Josh Norman covering Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Let's just say that they definitely delivered.
Norman is considered one of the defensive backs in the NFL this season. Odell Beckham Jr. is certainly one of the league's best at the wide receiver spot. The Panthers are undefeated and unabashedly confident that they are the best team in football, often irritating opposing players and fans with their outrageous celebrations and declarations of greatness. The Giants are just 6-7 at the moment but due to the fact that they play in the dumpster fire that is the NFC East, they still have a strong chance at winning their division and ending up with a home game in the playoffs.
With all of these things taken into consideration, it was a straight up guarantee that the Norman on Beckham Jr. matchup would be an epic one. And it didn't take long for the pregame predictions to be realized. In the first two minutes of the game, Beckham Jr. dropped a wide open pass that should have been a touchdown. It was a pass that he could normally make with one hand, let alone two.
Could it be that just the mere presence of Norman - who referred to his on-the-field adversary as both "edible" and "delicious" - had already gotten into Beckham Jr.'s head?
Yeah, it definitely looks like Beckham Jr. was already losing his cool very early on in the game. ACT LIKE YOU'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE, BRO!
That looks like a punch from this angle, but from the other side you can see that it was merely a slap (?) to the facemask.
I'm not sure I've ever seen an NFL player try to slap his opposition into submission, although it's worth a shot...I guess. Apparently Beckham Jr. wasn't done letting Josh Norman take a long joyride through his psyche, though. Watch him just beg to get a penalty flag thrown his way during this Giants' possession in which he tangles with Norman twice on two consecutive plays.
What are you doing, buddy? You're supposed to be fun, likeable, cool cleats guy. Where is the chill man who delivered these perfectly executed pregame ballerina and/or ice skating moves?
If he'd thrown a few of those moves in Norman's face at the line of scrimmage, perhaps this matchup would be a little more even. There's no way that wouldn't freak him out. #graceful
UPDATE: After being held to a catchless half for just the second time in his career, Odell Beckham Jr. made his first catch of the game for three yards. After fumbling another catch out of bounds, this happened:
Beckham Jr. was flagged on that play, but it was this next one that could have and probably should have had him ejected from the game; especially considering all of the fracas that he'd been involved in up until this point.
This game may have exposed a fairly fatal flaw in the young wide receiver's mental game. He has clearly allowed Norman's aggressive coverage to push him past the acceptable range of petty shit talk and extra physicality.
Obviously one rough game and some terrible decision making doesn't define him as a player, but certainly that type of head-hunting behavior reveals a chink in his armor. At the very least, Beckham Jr.'s previously pristine reputation will now be under review.
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