Odell Beckham Jr. Catching His Stride Makes the Los Angeles Rams the Team You Don’t Want to Play

Odell Beckham Jr. seems to be getting comfortable with the Los Angeles Rams. Coming off a big win on Monday Night Football over the Arizona Cardinals, OBJ and the Rams have the rest of the NFC on notice.

Not only is Beckham getting comfortable with Matthew Stafford, but he’s flashing the big-play ability that made him one of the league’s most dangerous weapons.

The Rams are not a team you want to match up with, now or in the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Rams regained their form on Monday Night Football

Even with the Rams in the midsts of an outbreak that has OBJ on the reserve/COVID-19 list just a day after beating the Cardinals, things appear to be trending up for LA.

As impressive as the win on Monday night was for the Rams, it was how they beat the Cardinals that has to have the rest of the contenders in the NFC sweating.

Yes, he had struggled massively just a few weeks ago, but Stafford once again regained his elite form and had himself a day against Arizona. He completed 23-of-30 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper Kupp was huge for LA with 13 catches for 123 yards and a score, but OBJ was equally as important in the win.

He’s now had multiple weeks to get used to playing with Stafford and to find his role in head coach Sean McVay’s explosive offense, and we’re starting to see the fruit of that labor coming to fruition. Playing in just his fourth game for LA after being released by the Cleveland Browns earlier in the season, Beckham flashed the type of elite talent that made him signing with the Rams such a scary proposition for the rest of the conference just a few weeks earlier.

OBJ snagged six catches on seven targets against Arizona, accumulating 77 yards receiving as well as a touchdown. He averaged a healthy 12.8 yards per catch and had a long catch of 40.

Odell Beckham Jr. is starting to find his stride again

OBJ Los Angeles Rams
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the Los Angeles Rams runs with the football after a reception against the Arizona Cardinals | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For as impressive as Beckham’s numbers against the Cardinals were, what really stood out was the way he played for the Rams. Long gone was the brooding star wide receiver who didn’t feel he was getting enough targets, or that his quarterback simply couldn’t get him the ball

He didn’t look frustrated at all, and he hasn’t since joining the Rams.

As a result, he’s played loose and has looked completely engaged in what the Rams are doing. There’s a big difference in body language between a frustrated OBJ and one who is bought-in and using his talents to better his team, and he’s very obviously been the latter since the Rams picked him up.

He’s running crisp routes and getting excellent separation. Perhaps most importantly for LA, he’s picking up big catches when the team needs him the most. He always has had the size and speed to burn a defense deep, but he’s also imposing enough to run a slant into the middle of the field on third down or near the goal line, and his long arms and soft hands make him hard to cover.

Just look at his touchdown catch against the Cardinals for an example. He’s absolutely unguardable when he wants to be.

There were some questions about how he would fit in LA’s offense upon his signing, but the injury to Robert Woods effectively made him Stafford’s second option behind Kupp. With the way he’s been playing lately, he’s starting to look more like 1B to Kupps’ 1A. Beckham has snagged a touchdown in each of LA’s last three games, and his six catches against Arizona were the most he’s had since joining the team.

OBJ is starting to put it together, and the Rams offense looked very dangerous as a result.

The Rams are going to be a scary matchup moving forward

Odell Beckham Jr. Los Angeles Rams
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the Los Angeles Rams reacts to a first-down reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at State Farm Stadium | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Even just a few weeks ago, things seemed to be heading south for the Rams.

November saw them lose three-straight games in a row, including a division loss to the 49ers and a pretty bad loss at the hands of the Packers. The Rams struggled defensively, giving up 31 and 36 to the 49ers and Packers, respectively, but it was McVay’s offense that was perhaps most worrisome. Stafford threw five interceptions in that losing skid, and he threw a pix-six in each of the three losses.

The Rams were quickly trending in the wrong direction before a “get right” win against the lowly Jaguars, a game that saw Stafford throw three touchdowns and no interceptions. If the Jaguars game was the “get right” game then the win on Monday night over Arizona was the “we’re alright” game.

Now at 9-4 and winners of two-straight, the Rams find themselves a game behind the 10-3 Cardinals in the NFC West and in the playoffs as the fifth seed. The Wild Card seems to be a strong possibility for LA, but there’s still a path for McVay and his team to actually win the division. The Rams would have to win out while hoping that Arizona loses at least once, but that seems possible after Monday night.

Frankly, anything is possible with the Seahawks, Vikings, Ravens, and 49ers still remaining on the schedule and the team in the midsts of a nasty coronavirus outbreak. The virus and the complications it brings in terms of preparing and game-availabity asisde, LA seems to have at least weathered the storm of playing poorly, and may just get hot at the right time.

Stafford seems to have regained his early-season form, and Kupp is unstoppable in this offense. On the defensive side of the ball, Aaron Donald has notched four sacks in the past two games alone, and Jalen Ramsey is always a threat to shut down a passing game.

Who wants to see this team on the schedule now that they’re heating up? Who wants to take on the Rams in the playoffs?

They’re going to be a tough out, and OBJ is a huge reason for that.

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference.

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