Odell Beckham controls the Rams’ dominant night over the Cardinals

He punched a wall outside the visitors’ locker room in Lambeau Fields gut and sobbed inside that locker room because he did not show up in his first playoff game five long years ago, and Eli Manning had no chance against the Packers without him.

Odell Beckham Jr. would learn that just because you can be celebrated for a one-handed catch forever, does not mean you can not be thrown overboard after a notorious boat trip the previous weekend in Miami.

You can go from hot to cold in an instant.

Beckham caught four passes on 28 yards, failed to catch a potential touchdown pass and added a few more drops as Manning lost his last shot at a third Super Bowl championship in the 2017 playoff loss to Green Bay.

And Beckham lost his last chance to become a New York legend.

His return to the offseason awaited until Monday night’s NFC wild-card game against the Cardinals, following an unfulfilled stop in Cleveland with Baker Mayfield.

Dream Teams never guarantee that dreams will come true.

Sean McVay had a Super Bowl dream and it featured Matthew Stafford replacing Jared Goff and Von Miller joining Aaron Donald and Beckham joining Cooper Kupp.

Dream night at SoFi Stadium for Rams.

Dream night for McVay, even without his two successful challenges in the first half.

Dream night for Stafford.

And dream night for OBJ.

Odell Beckham responds during the second quarter.
Odell Beckham responds during the second quarter.
Getty Images

Beckham caught a fade for a 4-yard TD against Marco Wilson in the left corner of the end zone that ignited the Rams’ 34-11 victory over the Cardinals. Catch it too with two hands.

And caught a 31-yard bomb down the left sideline for the Cardinals 2 to place Stafford for the 1-yard QB sneak that made it to the Rams 14, Cardinals 0.

And Beckham even threw a 40-yard rainbow to Cam Akers in the first possession of the second half that put Stafford’s 7-yard TD pass to Kupp, making it to the Rams 28, Cardinals 0. Giants fans may remember OBJ, who threw two TD passes, one of which was a 57-yard pass to Saquon Barkley against the Panthers in 2018.

At that point Monday night, OBJ (4-54-1 TD) had 40 passing yards, while Kyler Murray had 28.

Miller contributed a sack while Anders made disruptive Donald stuff – an unnecessary roughness penalty, but plenty of necessary roughness – that cut Murray down to size as well as sigh.

So yes, take on Tom Brady.

Bring the defending champion Bucs on Sunday at. 15 at Raymond James Stadium.

Odell Beckham catches a four-yard touchdown pass.
Odell Beckham catches a 4-yard touchdown pass.
USA TODAY Sport

For McVay, it will be a chance to soothe some of the pain from losing the Super Bowl to Brady and Bill Belichick in 2019, and this time he will bring a better quarterback to the NFC Divisional Round.

It was McVay’s second challenge – a fierce blow to AJ Green by safety Nick Scott after the condemned catch – that kept Murray backed up on his 4 after a Johnny Hekker point that had been formed at 1.

Under pressure from lightning-fast linebacker Troy Reeder, Murray suffered a shocking meltdown. He held the ball for too long in the end zone before attempting a frantic underhand throw that became a 3-yard pick-six gift to CB David Long.

Kyler Murray throws a pick-six.
Kyler Murray throws a pick-six.
AP

Murray was bewitched, annoyed and confused and rattled amazingly. His decision-making and accuracy gave the Cardinals no chance. A hasty screen pass that deflected James Conner’s hands became a Marquise Copeland interception.

It’s a ritual for January football most of the time:

Better quarterback wins.

Brady won. Patrick Mahomes won. Josh Allen won. Joe Burrow won. Jimmy Garoppolo won … because Dak Prescott lost.

Odell Beckham and Matthew Stafford celebrate.
Odell Beckham and Matthew Stafford celebrate.
AP

Stafford, who has struggled lately and faced the Super-Bowl-or-Bust in his first playoff game after an unfulfilled 12-year career with the Lions, was the better quarterback, in part because he had a head coach who made him comfortable with a Ground & Pound attack led by Akers, which flattened Budda Baker (concussion) late in the third quarter and sent him to the hospital, making JJ Watt’s inspiring return from a shoulder operation unclear.

And because he had Beckham on a night when Kupp was mostly a double-team decoy.

Murray, without the appearance of a running game, without DeAndre Hopkins (torn MCL), looked lost.

Beckham is well aware that there is a 100 foot long pirate ship behind one of the end zones inside Raymond James Stadium. If he has learned his lesson, he will not entertain Justin Bieber there or in Miami before the game. He sings Hooray for Hollywood these days on The Love Boat.

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