ST. LOUIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. refused to be intimidated, giving as well as he received.
Before the first of his two touchdown catches, the prolific rookie spun the ball and was whistled for taunting in the end zone. After outside linebacker Alec Ogletree flung him to the turf well out of bounds, Beckham stuck the ball in Ogletree’s face.
“He has a little something, a flair to him, which obviously we like,” quarterback Eli Manning said after the New York Giants stayed on a late-season surge with a 37-27 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
“Looks like they didn’t want to let him get away with anything like showboating.”
Beckham rolled up 148 yards receiving against a defense that hadn’t allowed a TD in three straight games, setting two franchise rookie marks and topping 1,000 yards despite missing the first four games with a hamstring injury.
The Rams (6-9) had been riled, coach Jeff Fisher said, because “someone said he came out and said he was going to set an NFL record.”
The Ogletree tackle led to fisticuffs and three ejections, two of them coming to Beckham’s aid. Before the penalties were announced, the rookie returned to the field clapping his hands.
“You play snap to whistle and after that you leave it alone,” Beckham said. “For the intensity and passion they brought to the game, I can’t fault them.”
Defensive end Damontre’ Moore, one of two Giants players ejected, had been on the bench when wide receiver Preston Parker jumped Ogletree from behind.
“The way I was raised, you protect family,” Moore said. “That shows me maybe being immature and acting out on my emotions. But the way I was thinking, my brother was in danger.”
“The one thing we learned yesterday: his teammates have his back,” WFAN’s Kim Jones said of Beckham on Monday morning. “And that’s incredibly important.”
Reasons why the Giants won their third in a row and spoiled the Rams’ home finale:
The Giants had a season-best 514 yards in total offense, also a season-worst allowed by the Rams. Manning was 25 for 32 for 391 yards and three touchdowns, rookie Andre Williams had 110 yards rushing on 26 carries in place of injured Rashad Jennings, and Rueben Randle had six catches for 132 yards and a score. The Giants overcame 12 penalties for 141 yards by excelling in every other phase, scoring 10 points off two first-half turnovers while committing none and dominating in time of possession. Rookie Orleans Darkwa ran for his first career TD and forced Cunningham’s fumble. Manning was sacked just once by a defense that had dominated lately.
“Definitely, the offense was clicking from the start,” Manning said. “We moved the ball well all the game. Ran the ball well. Got a couple of big runs. I got the ball out quickly.”
The Giants had a short field, just 21 yards, on Beckham’s 9-yard catch that ended the Rams’ run of 12 quarters without allowing a TD after Benny Cunningham’s lost fumble on a kickoff return. But they also had drives of 69, 80, 87 and 80 yards against a defense that allowed just four field goals last week after consecutive shutouts against Oakland and Washington. Tavon Austin barely got his hands on a ball right to him, an interception that led to a field goal that put the Giants up 13-3 in the second quarter.
Beckham has 79 receptions, most in NFL history for a player in his first 11 career games and five more than the previous franchise rookie mark by Jeremy Shockey in 2003. He’s had at least 90 yards receiving in eight consecutive games and could tie the NFL record set by the Cowboys’ Michael Irvin in 1995 in the finale against Philadelphia. The 11 touchdown catches broke a team rookie record set in 1948 by Bill Swiacki.
Shaun Hill threw for 290 yards and two scores, but two high snaps from center Scott Wells, playing with an elbow brace for several weeks, were costly for the Rams. They settled for a 20-yard field goal after Hill chased down the ball and hurriedly threw incomplete. They missed a chance at a late comeback after Daren Bates blocked a field goal when, on the next play, Wells snapped one over Hill’s head and Kerry Wynn recovered for the Giants.
Giants OT Will Beatty had a rough day with four holding penalties, one in each quarter. … Rams rookie DB E.J. Gaines had a concussion but would be “OK” after getting his helmet knocked off in a collision with T.J. McDonald in the third quarter. Gaines also had a lacerated lip. … Giants K Josh Brown, who played four seasons with St. Louis, was whistled for a personal foul after tangling with the Rams’ Cody Davis on a kickoff.
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