Odell Beckham Jr. vs Jalen Ramsey; Breaking down the key match up

Film Room, Game Film, Gif Breakdowns, NFL

Mansur Shaheen

The biggest story heading into the New York Giants season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars was the matchup between wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Both are elite talents at their respective positions, and both are players who have captured the attention of social media the past few seasons with their antics both on and off the field. We were in for a legendary battle.

If you count plays that ended in penalties and remove plays where the receiver was a clear decoy for a shorter pass underneath, then the two ran a total of 23 routes against each other. Beckham was targeted 11 times, and if you include a 15-yard pass interference call that he drew then he totaled 8 catches for 101 yards against Ramsey. If you condense quarterback Eli Manning’s entire game to just passes to Beckham then he had an adjusted passer rating of 100.9.

While that number looks great at face value, Ramsey seemed to have the upper hand for much of the day. Beckham didn’t really get going until very late in the game when the Jaguars dropped into a softer prevent defense.

Ramsey obviously studied his opponent this summer. Beckham excels at forcing defenders to play him close inside, as he has the ability to torch teams on quick slant routes. He then uses his speed and great route running to punish defenses by beating them over the top. Ramsey knew of this and played him well. He never got over eager jumping the shorter routes, and instead positioned himself in a place where he could cut down Beckham before he could run at all after the catch.

The cornerback also had the advantage on intermediate routes. Ramsey is a freak of an athlete and he is incredibly fast for a corner. He played the game knowing that as fast as Beckham could break on his routes and take advantage of the space that Ramsey gave him the corner was fast and agile enough to get right back in position. The receiver could barely find any space on medium route’s over the middle and was rarely even targeted.

Beckham did get the better of his opponent on deeper routes, though. Once he was able to get outside of the mess in the middle of the field the receiver took advantage of all the open field deep. Ramsey couldn’t play as conservatively as he did further up the field as Beckham had so much space to beat him with.

This play late in the game is a perfect example.

The Jaguars are in a cover-3 look and Ramsey is playing off coverage across from Beckham. The receiver quickly eats up the seven-yard cushion he is given and once he is deep downfield he fakes inside as if he is going to break into a post route and Ramsey follows him. Beckham quickly flips his hips and breaks outside for a deep out. Ramsey gets all the way turned around and by the time he can recover Beckham already has a deep catch for a huge gain.

Beckham should have had a touchdown on this play after he beat Ramsey in the redzone.

Ramsey gives Beckham inside leverage as they line up in the slot. Beckham runs a post route but fakes a step outside before he breaks inside. Ramsey bites on the step outside and the receiver has a free run into the end zone. Manning throws a pass while under duress and overshoots what should have been a touchdown.

The Giants also found a few creative ways to get Beckham open downfield.

On this play, Ramsey leaves a large cushion for Beckham. Sterling Shepard is lined up outside against AJ Bouye in man coverage as well. Shepard and Bouye jam each other and battle as they run downfield. Beckham delays his route until the two crash into Ramsey then gets a free run to the sideline for a deep completion. I’m not sure whether or not a play like this is theoretically allowed, but it’s easy to see how the referees would see Shepard and Bouye mutually fighting each other and not call it pass interference.

It is hard to declare a winner in a matchup like this. Ramsey had the advantage on the shorter routes and Beckham on the longer ones. Beckham’s stat line looks nice at the end of the game, but Ramsey and the Jaguars walked off the field with a victory.

In the end, matchups like this are more of a victory for the entire sport of football.

 

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Mansur Shaheen

No matter what you think about his antics both on and off the field, everyone must admit that Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the most exciting players to watch in the past decade. He is a skilled receiver who truly loves the game. Beckham is an excellent route runner, and his speed and agility make him a match up nightmare for nearly every team in the league.

Beckham played his first 16 game season in 2016, and set a career high with 101 receptions. He broke the 1,300 yards yet again, something he has done every season in the league, and added ten touchdowns.

He had yet another amazing season leading to his first ever playoff appearance, and had the best game of his career so far in week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Beckham was targeted by Eli Manning ten times for eight receptions and a career high 222 yards. He became the first Giants receiver to break 200 yards since Plaxico Burress in 2005, and became the youngest player to reach the mark in Giants history. The 222 yards were also the second most by a Giants receiver ever.

He put up these numbers despite missing much of the second quarter with a rib injury, and being largely held in check for majority of the first half.

The Giants top receiver only had one reception in the first quarter, and it was his lowest moment of the game.

Beckham ran a quick curl route and embedded himself into a hole in the Ravens zone. He quickly whips around and catches an instantly thrown ball from Eli Manning. Beckham secures the catch, but loses possession of it as he s tackled by Eric Weddle from behind.

Beckham was a little loose with the ball, and he seemed absolutely blindsided by the tackle.

He was entirely unaware a tackle was coming from that side, and shifted the ball into that arm allowing Weddle to swipe in and knock it out. The Ravens recovered the fumble and the Giants offense got off to a horrible start.

New York could not get anything going in the early stages of the game. It took them until the second quarter to even get a first down and they dug themselves an early 10-0 hole on the scoreboard.

The offense finally got going in the second quarter, and Beckham got his second first half reception.

Ravens corner Jimmy Smith gives Beckham a huge cushion split out wide. A quick curl route earns him an easy six yard catch to get the Giants drive rolling. The Ravens can be criticized for making it so easy Beckham to make a catch underneath, but it’s a price you have to pay when facing a receiver as fast and as great of a route runner as Beckham.

Beckham was finally given a chance to shine late in the first half.

Beckham manages to slip behind the Ravens zone coverage and find a bit of space in the gap. He has a split second of time embedded between the Ravens corner and safety, and Eli throws him the ball. It is a little high, but Beckham manages to come down with it despite being hit from two sides by the oncoming defenders. He comes down out of bounds though, and ends the first half with a measly eleven yards.

Beckham exploded in the second half, and a Ravens defense that seemingly had removed the Giants biggest threat from the game fell apart. Jimmy Smith did not play in the second half due to a concussion. Smith did not entirely lock down Beckham at the early stages of the game, but the Ravens best corner back leaving the game left the receiver a lot more room to operate on the field.

The Giants got Beckham going early with a quick pass out to the flat, and he embarrassed a few defenders for an easy eleven yard gain.

Manning almost instantly sends it over to Beckham after the snap. A quick hesitation gets the first would-be tackler off balance and Beckham throws him into the ground. He uses a stiff arm to deal with another defender before being run out of bounds.

The Giants would eventually lead this drive into the red zone, where Beckham would have a few opportunities to score.

Lined up split wide only a few yards away from the end zone, Beckham ran a quick dig route. As Manning roll towards his right Beckham quickly plants his foot and turns back towards the sideline. His agility makes him near impossible to keep up with in such close quarters and he easily shakes the defensive back.

Will Davis, the corner unfortunately tasked with covering Beckham, makes a business decision and yanks on Beckham holding him back instead of letting him run free. He gets called for pass interference and the Giants get a first down.

On the very next play Beckham beat his man again and found himself open in the end zone.

Beckham runs a simple out route towards the left sideline. He has a step on his man the whole way, and is open towards the sideline. The corner does a good job sticking with him and cutting off Manning’s passing angle. Manning could have done a little better with the pass to allow his freak of an athlete receiver, but throws it high out of bounds.

Yet again though, Beckhams route running gave a defensive back a lot of trouble. Weddle was lined up across Beckham, and even left a bit of a cushion while also lining up to the outside to cover himself on an out route. Beckham half turns towards the inside after jogging a few yards into the end zone, and instantly breaks to the side line. Weddle is thrown off by the double move, and loses his man. As a safety, man coverage is not the best part of Weddles skill set. He was completely beaten though, and Manning bailed him out.

Manning bailed the Ravens out again in the ultimate fashion on the next drive. Davis was lined up across Beckham and found himself lost on a double move.

Davis did not leave much of a cushion for Beckham. The receiver runs a few yards upfield then makes a hard cut back towards the quarterback. Davis is thrown off and stumbles back for a few yards leaving his man wide open.

Manning goes to the other side of the field, though, and throws an interception. The Ravens got away with it, but plays like this force Baltimore to give Beckham even a bigger cushion in the future.

Later in the quarter Beckham was given a bigger cushion by Davis, and absolutely torched him anyways for his longest touchdown of the year.

Davis is playing seven yards off of the line of scrimmage, in perfect position to defend any curl or dig routes from Beckham. The receiver runs right up to Davis and makes a quick turn, faking a dig route. Davis bites on the shorter route.

Beckham breaks towards the sideline and the defensive back is beaten. Weddle, the deepest safety for the Giants, is distracted by the other side of the field not expecting anything to come deep on his left. Beckham has a step on Davis and without any support deep it’s just a matter of Manning placing the ball correctly.

A near perfect pass from Manning, and a cocky finger wave towards Weddle are all that are needed as Beckham jogs into the end zone to break open the game for the Giants.

Beckham finishes off with an amazing double jump celebration…

Followed by some weird stuff with a kicking net.

He forced the Ravens to give him even more space in the future. Allowing Beckham a large cushion lets him put his route running skills to full use.

This time opposite of Shareece Wright, Beckham is given a cushion of nearly ten yards. He runs a corner route, and a nice move towards the inside before breaking off on his route sends Wright towards the inside.

Beckham runs free down the sideline, and if the safety does not show to force him out of bounds he is off for another touchdown.

Just like the previous play, Eli Manning also delivered a perfect pass to Beckham. He drops it right into his hands.

His final catch of the game, and the one that led us off, was his most important. Beckham beat the entire Ravens defense and sprinted to a 75 yard game winning touchdown.

Baltimore led by three with under two minutes to play. The Giants were lining up for a fourth and one play from their own 34. A stop for the Ravens here would most likely win them the game.

They stacked the box playing man coverage on each receiver, with one safety lined up deep. The Giants run a simple slant-flat combo with Larry Donnel and Beckham. The two defenders get their legs tied together and go down, springing Beckham free.

Lardarius Webb is the only man still in front of Beckham, but still has a lot of room to close. As Beckham reaches midfield he changes direction, forcing Webb to come to a complete stop to turn and chase. Beckham beats everyone down field for a touchdown (despite an incredible effort from the Ravens #41 Anthony Levine).

He then proceeds to do more weird stuff with the net.

The Giants defense would hold on for the win, and the Giants would slip away with an important victory. Beckham proved once again how dangerous he can be as a wideout once he gets going, and how hard it is to shut him out of a game.

 

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