As you’ve most likely seen by now, Giants’ rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made what is, quite possibly, the greatest catch in the history of human beings throwing balls around for sport.
Predictably, the grab all but exploded Twitter and inspired a bevy of Photoshop interpretations, ranging from Sistine to Bartman.
The game ended up turning into yet another loss for the Giants, their sixth straight, the one that mathematically put the final nail in the coffin that held Big Blue’s prosciutto-thin NFC East title hopes. This has been a lost season for the Giants, a team facing a rash of injuries while in the midst of a rebuilding process that has forced them to put too great a number of replacement players in meaningful roles.
But if only for one moment of one game, against the background of the sheer athleticism, speed, strength, coordination, balance and all-around ungodliness Beckham displayed on that 43-yard touchdown catch, the Giants numerous troubles seemed to fade. It was the type of moment that makes rooting for a team stuck in the mire somehow still enjoyable.
That’s what Beckham’s electric presence has become for the Giants and their fans—a release from the mediocrity that has plagued the team from the opening snap of the 2014 season (which, by the way, Beckham wasn’t on the field for). He makes plays when the ball is thrown his way, he provides a legitimate decoy when it isn’t, and he outwardly shows emotion and a passion for winning on a team that seems troublingly bereft of both.
It didn’t take long for the Giants’ problems to reemerge throughout the rest of Sunday night’s contest, which Big Blue concluded by giving up a game-winning touchdown drive to Tony Romo, who connected with Dez Bryant, the Cowboys’ own freakish receiver, for the go-ahead score with a minute to go. Aside from giving the Cowboys the lead for good, the touchdown also rehashed those conversations Giants fans have had before about Eli Manning’s intelligence level and Tom Coughlin’s age in the rage and privacy of their own homes. A disturbingly Dallas-sided crowd reaction to the score (and the entire game) didn’t help matters much.
The question is, does one transcendent play make up for a season full of ugly, laughable, forgettable ones? Probably not. What Beckham’s catch (and entire 10 reception, 146 yard performance) brings the Giants is a glimmer of a hope, hope for a future full of blue-clad receivers streaking across the field, snagging Manning passes not habitually slung 2-5 feet too high, all behind an offensive line of adequate skill and meaningful rapport, and perhaps even the defense recording a sack, just one sack, or maybe a knockdown, or even slight pressure before the opposing quarterback has enough time to learn telepathy and truly hone his mind communication skills before passing it along to his receivers streaking wide open in the end zone. A man can dream.