The Giants sparked a 28 point comeback in the second half but ultimately fell 38-35 to the Panthers on a last second field goal. One of the leading stories heading into the game was the matchup between Panthers’ cornerback Josh Norman and Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Odell snapped his six consecutive game 100 yard streak, and the two players initiated in foul play throughout the game resulting in multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and extracurricular fights.
OBJ had a rough start to the game, streaking open on an early play action play in the first quarter and dropping a wide open 52 yard pass that would have resulted in a certain touchdown. On the same opening drive, Norman and Beckham had back to back plays of rough housing, tossing each other into the turf but yielding no penalty flags. The LSU alum ripped his own helmet off during the second altercation screaming in frustration.
The first half ended up going to Norman, as he held OBJ to only 3 catches for 14 yards, and Beckham’s rough outing transitioned into the third quarter. The star wideout was flagged on back to back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, one of which was when he clipped Norman’s left foot after converting a first down. The following play on a second and fifteen yard conversation by a Shane Vereen draw play, Beckham and Norman continued to take full force shots at each other, with OBJ charging at Norman from behind but ended up being ripped to the ground by Norman. The result of the play was still a first down due to offsetting penalties by both Norman and Beckham.
OBJ finally broke through the Panthers secondary in the fourth quarter. On the Giants final offensive drive Beckham lined up in the slot and ran a shallow crossing route. Beckham beat Cortland Finnegan on the coverage and steaked down the sideline, weaving between defenders for a cumulative forty yard game. Four plays later on a fourth and five OBJ finally got the best of Josh Norman, faking an in-cut on a double move and plucking a perfectly thrown ball by Manning in the back left corner of the endzone for a 14 yard touchdown.
Beckham ended the game with 6 receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, but certainly had some missed opportunities and unsportsmanlike behavior throughout the outing. OBJ was still able to demonstrate that he can beat the best in the league, but ultimately the Giants fell due to a lack of execution across multiple fronts. The Giants now will have to win out and hope for losses by the Redskins and the Eagles in order to earn a postseason berth.