Turns out, they didn’t have to. Beckham Jr. took care of that on his own.
OBJ was emotional as ever, taking offense to a hit by Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes as he stepped out of bounds in the second quarter and jumping back to bump Rhodes, an action that drew a 15-yard taunting penalty on the receiver and put him on notice that another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would get him tossed from the game.
After that, Beckham pretty much took himself out of the game as the Vikings blanketed him.
“I’m just out there playing football. This is a man’s sport. You have to protect yourself at all times. Things got that way and I just got to know where I’m at and know that it’s all against me,” he said, often repeating that line of thinking in a postgame interview that others are against him. “It’s going to be that way. I have to assume that I am always in the wrong no matter what. That’s just a tough pill to swallow, but you have to understand it. You have to be able to cope with it and just keep it moving.”
It sure seemed like his coaches and teammates thought he was in the wrong, too, as they tried to calm him on the sideline.
“He has got to be aware. They’re looking for him and he has got to play smart,” Giants QB Eli Manning said. “We can’t afford to do anything. They’re going to call him and he brought that on himself.”
Yet, Beckham Jr. doesn’t seem to believe he brought much on himself.
“I’m not the one who puts a camera in my face. I don’t think many teammates knew about what happened last week. It all gets blown up,” he said. “We live in the era of social media so it is what it is. Created, not created, it doesn’t matter. When you’re at the top of your game they are going to try and knock you off. That’s just the case. You keep it moving.”
But the Vikings made sure that OBJ was nowhere near the top of his game. In fact, they had him hitting rock bottom.
In the first three games of his rookie season of 2014, he had 44, 28 and 34 yards receiving, respectively. In the final nine games of that season, he had seven 100-yard performances on his way to 1,305 yards in only 12 games played.
Last year, he had eight 100-yard games and 1,450 yards in 16 games played.
This year, his worst output was four catches for 73 yards. The Vikings sliced that to less than a third by holding him to three catches for only 23 yards.
“They played a lot of safety over the top, cover everything underneath. They covered the single side, safety rolling to the single side,” Beckham said. “All-in-all they are a great team. They have always been a great team. I guess they just came out and they played Minnesota Vikings defense. They made it difficult for us.”
After the game, Munnerlyn admitted that the defense saw they had handed Beckham Jr. the worst yardage output of his career but they didn’t seem to be overly impressed with themselves.
Still, they could sense his frustration.
“A little bit, but at the same time, like I said, the guy’s just competitive. He’s one of the most competitive guys in the league. He just wants to win,” Munnerlyn said. “He’s a receiver. Receivers always want the ball. They always feel like they’re open and things like that, so I won’t say we can see it, but at the same time, we just try to go out there and just do our job.”
They did that by not letting Beckham get his.
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In his mind, many are against him. On Monday night, perhaps he felt like it was more than just the Vikings’ 11 defenders against him.
“It’s all against you. You have to know that and you have to understand it. It’s never going to deter me from what I want to do. It’s never going to deter us from the goals that we have set. It’s not going to stop me,” he said. “You have to work harder, smarter. Like I said, it’s all against you. It is what it is. Whatever you want to call it, it’s against you. You have to live with that.”