Odell Beckham Jr. Ignores Another Matthew Stafford 3-Turnover Game and Praises the LA Rams QB’s End of Game ‘Poise’: ‘It Felt Like We’re Going to Go Down and Score and Win This Game’
After crushing his quarterbacks while forcing his way out of town in his first two NFL stops, Odell Beckham Jr. seems to be on his best behavior with the Los Angeles Rams. In a dramatic, last-minute win over the battered Baltimore Ravens this week, OBJ showed off the old pass-catching skills that made him a star. He also demonstrated a new attitude toward his QB, Matthew Stafford.
The first-year Rams signal-caller played horribly for nearly a full game. Then, he led a late drive and pulled out a win, finding Beckham twice with his final two throws. As the playoffs approach, Stafford must figure out how to eliminate these multiple turnover games that are becoming a habit. If not, the Rams may face a much shorter postseason than they hope for.
The LA Rams played poorly for 55 minutes vs. the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17
With a 20-19 Week 17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, the LA Rams have now won five in a row. After losing to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4, the Rams have finally wrestled back sole possession of first place in the NFC West.
Although wins are wins in the standings, the last two weeks haven’t been pretty for the star-studded LA team.
Last week, they snuck past the Minnesota Vikings despite three interceptions by Matthew Stafford. This week, Stafford cut his completions to the other team down to two. However, he added a fumble to once again bring his turnover total to three.
Making matters worse, Stafford had this brutal performance against a Ravens team decimated by injuries this season. The injury bug has hit the Ravens all over the field. The team’s biggest issue this week was superstar QB Lamar Jackson missing his third consecutive game Sunday.
Second-year signal-caller Tyler Hundley and the Ravens put up a valiant effort. Without Stafford’s three turnovers, though, there is no way this Baltimore team could have kept up with an LA squad that features Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr., and Cooper Kupp on offense and Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller on defense.
Luckily for the Rams, after 55 minutes of lackluster football, Stafford and the offense turned up for the last five minutes. And, luckily for team chemistry, that’s what late-game hero OBJ decided to focus on in his postgame press conference.
The Rams salvaged a W with a last-minute touchdown to avoid a massive upset
With 4:35 left in the game, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker kicked a 34-yard field goal to give his side a 19-14 lead.
Matthew Stafford and the LA Rams got the ball back and, after four consecutive completions by the QB, a run by Sony Michel, and a replay-overturned fumble scare early in the drive, the team found itself with a 2nd-and-2 from the Ravens’ 8-yard line at the two-minute warning.
A 1-yard run after the break brought up 3rd-and-1, and a huge tackle in the backfield by Ravens CB Jimmy Smith for a 4-yard loss made it 4th-and-5.
With the game on the line, Stafford completed a dramatic 5-yard pass to Odell Beckham Jr. right at the first-down marker.
A play later, Stafford found OBJ again. This time, the controversial WR tip-toed inbounds at the 1-yard line while nicking the pylon with the ball for the game-winning score with just 57 seconds left.
After the game, Beckham decided to focus on his QB’s late-game heroics as opposed to his early-game struggles. In the postgame presser, via TheRams.com, OBJ said of Stafford:
It’s just poise. [Stafford]’s been around for so long, just poised. I think he was in complete control. It felt like that in the huddle. It felt like we’re going to go down and score and win this game. Those are the words I feel like I heard him saying each and every time. Just to make the throw that he made at that time of the game, it was a testament to him as well.Odell Beckham Jr. on LA Rams teammate Matthew Stafford
The Rams keep pulling out wins despite Stafford not playing his best recently and will need to do it at least one more time in Week 18 to help ensure an advantageous playoff position.
Matthew Stafford, OBJ, and company need to play for the win in Week 18
With the Green Bay Packers’ 37-10 beatdown of the Minnesota Vikings on Week 17’s Sunday Night Football, the LA Rams can no longer win the NFC and get home-field advantage in the 2021 NFL Playoffs.
However, the Rams still have a lot to play for in the league’s first-ever Week 18 on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. The team hosts the division-rival San Francisco 49ers in a crucial game for both teams.
On the 49ers’ side, several scenarios will affect their playoff chances/seeding, but the important thing to know for Niners fans is that they are in the playoffs with a win or a New Orleans Saints loss (to the Atlanta Falcons).
For LA, a win guarantees them the No. 2 spot in the NFC and may knock a division rival out of the playoffs. A loss (coupled with an Arizona Cardinals win) drops the Rams from second to fifth and gives them the dangerous (albeit struggling) Dallas Cowboys instead of the 49ers, Saints, or Philadelphia Eagles.
Regardless of playoff seeding, though, Week 18 is the Rams — and Matthew Stafford’s — last chance to tighten things up before starting what should be an incredibly competitive NFC playoff season.
Stafford’s late-game “poise” and heroics might be OK for the regular season, but playing 55-minutes of horrible football won’t get you many playoff W’s. The QB might not know this after just three (one-and-done) postseason appearances during his 12 seasons in Detroit. But with LA all in for a home-field Super Bowl in 2021, he better figure it out quickly.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference