Odell Beckham, Jr. has grown into an important offensive weapon for the Los Angeles Rams, and the mid-season acquisition made a number of key plays that helped decide the outcome of the game Sunday afternoon.
One of the most important plays that gave the Baltimore Ravens an early lead was an interception returned for a touchdown by safety Chuck Clark. Matthew Stafford has received heavy criticism for this mistake, as it is part of a concerning trend of turnovers deep in Rams territory; however, according to head coach Sean McVay, the pick-six may not have been the fault of LA’s signal caller.
The latest Athletic Football Show podcast with @Nate_Tice @robertmays talked about the Rams and Stafford today.. 9 of Stafford’s 15 INT’s came inside the Rams own 30.— SeattleRams (@seattlerams_nfl) January 3, 2022
I shared the splits earlier, that simply cannot happen against good teams and still expect to win.
In his post game press conference, McVay called the interception a “miscommunication” and mentioned that the number two receiver (Beckham) ran the wrong route, allowing Clark to make a play on the ball when he should have otherwise been flushed out:
“We actually had a miscommunication, we didn’t run the right route at the number 2 spot and that enabled Clark to be able to kind of trigger on Higbee running the out cut from the three spot...
They were in a split-safety, that was the hook player that was kind of playing visually, I thought he made a nice play, but... overall it takes all 11. Matthew can be better with the location. I can be better with the play call. We did have a mix-up, and we were supposed to have a different route from the number 2 spot that ended up flushing out that hook player and they made it into a pick-six.”
Although McVay did not mention him by name, it appears Beckham was aligned as the number two receiver and initially drew Clark in coverage. When OBJ did not threaten Clark’s coverage as intended, the safety was able to break on the ball and make the interception. Watch below.
Even if Beckham is partially at fault for this costly turnover, it is still reasonable for him to not always be on the same page as Stafford - the receiver did not join the team until Week 10. The fact OBJ is able to make an impact for LA on a fairly consistent basis demonstrates that he is a special player in the NFL, but he might not yet have a full grasp on the McVay playbook.
The Rams overcame the pick-six with a perfect second half by Stafford - and Beckham made a key fourth down conversion and the game winning touchdown on the final offensive possession. This won’t be the last time Los Angeles faces adversity, but their ability to rise to the occasion seemingly bodes well as they prepare for the playoffs.