?>

As Odell Beckham Jr. thrives with the Rams, it sure doesn’t look like he was the problem for Browns



Justin Jefferson had a message for Odell Beckham Jr.’s haters after the Rams’ 30-23 win over the Cardinals on “Monday Night Football.”

The Vikings’ receiver and LSU product wants everybody to admit that Beckham “was not the problem” during his rocky tenure with the Browns.

Indeed, Jefferson is right. Beckham wasn’t the problem, and he’s proving that as he hits his stride in Los Angeles.

MORE: Troy Aikman’s ridiculous hot take about Odell Beckham Jr.’s Rams debut

Beckham had arguably his best performance of the season in the Rams’ 30-23 Week 14 win over the Cardinals. He caught six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown while helping to catalyze the Rams’ offense in the first half.

The score was a thing of beauty from Beckham. He ran a perfect route near the goal line and beat the Cardinals’ defensive back to the inside with a nice stutter-step move to open the scoring from the Rams. It marked his third consecutive game with a touchdown.

Incredibly, Beckham now has as many touchdowns in four games with the Rams as he did in his final 13 games with the Browns over the last two years. His production as a whole in Los Angeles has almost outpaced his work in Cleveland this year despite the fact that he has played two fewer games with the Rams.

Odell Beckham Jr. Games Targets Receptions Receiving yards Receiving TDs Yards per reception
With Browns 6 34 17 232 0 13.6
With Rams 4 25 15 204 3 13.6

If you exclude his first game with the Rams, during which Beckham played only 15 snaps, he is averaging 4.3 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown per game for the Rams. That translates to 1,054 yards and 17 TDs over a 17-game season. Certainly, the Rams will take those numbers for a No. 2 receiver.

It’s also worth noting that Beckham’s yards per catch average is the same with the Rams as it was with the Browns. What does that mean? It means that while it may seem like he’s making more plays with the Rams, his catches with the Browns were of similar impact. They just weren’t as frequent, as Baker Mayfield didn’t target him as much as they never developed chemistry.

SUTELAN: Will Cooper Kupp break the NFL’s single-season receiving record?

The Rams’ offense certainly seems better with Beckham — especially since they needed a replacement for Robert Woods. What about the Browns’ offense? Well, they certainly haven’t improved by releasing Beckham.

Stat category With Beckham Since releasing Beckham
Points per game 20.5 19
Passing yards per game 211.3 180.6
Pass TDs per game 1 1.4

It’s fair to point out that the Browns played two additional games without Beckham to start the year, and when factoring those in, they average 22.1 points per game, 200.8 yards and 1.1 passing TDs without Beckham. While their scoring may be a bit better overall without Beckham, it’s still hard to say that he was the problem with the Browns’ offense. They were certainly a more efficient passing attack when he was around.

And while Beckham was embroiled in some drama within the Browns’ locker room that heated up when his father posted a video that was critical of Mayfield to social media, he certainly hasn’t been a locker room malcontent for the Rams. In fact, he has served as a valuable mentor and source of encouragement for second-year receiver Van Jefferson already, as Jourdan Rodrigue detailed in The Athletic.

“I was really down after the (San Francisco) game,” Jefferson said. “Odell sent me this long list of people just talking bad about him, and how he can be better, and he said, ‘Look, bro, I’ve been there, I’ve been through it before. Don’t dwell on this.’ So that encouraged me a lot, for him to do that.”

Since that game, Jefferson has totaled 11 catches for 192 yards and three touchdowns.

MORE: Why OBJ chose Rams over other potential suitors

It’s fair that the Browns wanted to get a fresh start as Beckham and Mayfield struggled to connect, but it’s also clear that Beckham wasn’t the root of the problem. After all, Mayfield cryptically alluded to “internal things” that are plaguing Cleveland in an interview with NFL Network’s Kurt Warnrer.

So, Cleveland still has some soul-searching to do as they look to earn a playoff berth in the crowded AFC. Meanwhile, it seems like the Rams have found something in Beckham and will look to see if he can stay hot as they battle for the NFC West title.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.