INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Odell Beckham Jr. made his sluggish and agonizing stroll again to the locker room along with his eyes nonetheless on the sector. He was watching the Los Angeles Rams offense he may not be part of, seemingly prepared it to proceed its march downfield.
Late within the second quarter of Tremendous Bowl LVI, one thing went improper as Beckham reached for what would have been his third catch of the sport. As he crossed the center of the sector, his left foot appeared to catch within the turf on the fringe of the N.F.L. brand painted at midfield. Beckham instantly grabbed his left knee in obvious ache and tumbled to the turf. His teammates, involved about the potential of a non-contact damage, encircled him, and one member of the workforce’s medical employees patted his proper leg as if to console him.
Beckham was helped to the sideline and into the blue medical tent earlier than being led to the locker room by an athletic coach who carried his helmet. Moments after Beckham disappeared from view, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford compelled a throw to the tip zone that was intercepted by Bengals security Jessie Bates III.
However earlier than Beckham left the sector, he delivered the sport’s first landing. He earned the 17-yard rating along with his launch from Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton off the road of scrimmage. He then carried out the moonwalk in the long run zone. All indicators pointed to an enormous night time for the 29-year-old receiver, who adopted a bumpy street to his first Tremendous Bowl look.
The Rams offense at first appeared to stall with Beckham out, limiting Stafford’s choices and permitting the Bengals to dedicate extra consideration to Los Angeles’s high receiver, Cooper Kupp. However the Rams rallied late within the recreation with a 15-play, 79-yard landing drive, capped by a 1-yard landing cross to Kupp that sealed the 23-20 win.
Beckham tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2020 when he was with the Cleveland Browns. The workforce didn’t affirm the extent of Beckham’s damage after the sport. Fellow receiver Robert Woods, who tore an A.C.L. in apply the identical day in November that Beckham arrived in Los Angeles, stated he spent a while alone with Beckham within the locker room after the workforce got here out for the second half and held him.
“With the ability to maintain him and say, ‘I’m proper with you; I shall be right here each step, each rehab day,’ ” Woods stated. “He’s a competitor. I do know he shall be again even stronger, and hopefully he’s again with us.”
It had been an extended journey for Beckham, now in his eighth season, to succeed in the Tremendous Bowl. Earlier than this postseason, the one playoff recreation he had performed in was the Giants’ loss to Inexperienced Bay in the course of the 2016 season after a number of gamers’ infamous boat trip to Miami.
Beckham grew to become a rookie sensation along with his one-handed catch in opposition to the Cowboys in 2014, however the Giants traded him to Cleveland 5 years after drafting him No. 12 general. His tenure with the Browns was equally turbulent. The workforce launched him in early November after his father posted a video on social media expressing frustration with how his son was getting used within the Browns offense, paving the best way for Beckham to hitch the Rams.
The Rams initially thought Beckham can be a pleasant addition to their offense — one more star on the workforce’s roster — however his function shortly grew to become larger than anticipated after Woods’ damage. Beckham
grew to become a key offensive weapon because the workforce constructed momentum in its Tremendous Bowl run. He contributed 113 receiving yards within the N.F.C. Championship Sport in opposition to the 49ers, and he was shaping as much as be a serious a part of the Rams’ recreation plan in opposition to the Bengals. On Sunday night time, he had two catches for 52 yards and a landing earlier than leaving the sport.
The lack of Beckham, adopted by Stafford’s interception on the finish of the primary half, was a devastating sequence that appeared to swing momentum away from the Rams. The beginning of the second half wasn’t a lot better: The Bengals instantly took the lead on a 75-yard landing, then Stafford threw his second interception on the subsequent play. The cross was supposed for Ben Skowronek, a participant who wouldn’t have had as massive of a job had Beckham remained within the recreation. The Rams fell behind 20-13 after that turnover.
As Beckham left the sector, ache and disappointment have been written throughout his face. However whereas the Rams didn’t proceed their march downfield at that second, they ultimately discovered a method. Stafford and Kupp someway discovered house within the tight throwing home windows made even tighter by Beckham’s absence. Within the recreation’s closing moments, TV cameras caught Beckham rejoining his workforce on the sideline, and this time he was crying.