Odell Beckham Jr. has been waiting patiently for this. The opportunity to make another playoff run. The chance to shine when the lights are brightest.
You might say Beckham was built for the playoffs, and he definitely came to Baltimore to provide another weapon that Lamar Jackson could target in big moments.
Playoff time has arrived, and Beckham can feel it as he prepares for Saturday’s divisional round playoff game against the Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. It’s time to separate the best from the rest, and when it comes to making electrifying plays at wide receiver, Beckham wants to show that he’s still one of the best.
“I’m always intense when it comes to this,” Beckham said. “I’m always thinking about it, so I don’t know if there’s anything different for me personally. I think everybody has a sense of urgency. Everybody’s excited about the opportunity that we have.”
Beckham has a regular season of football under his belt, after his comeback from the major knee injury he suffered helping the Rams win Super Bowl LVI in 2022. That setback forced him to miss the entire following season, and after months of grueling rehab, Beckham is thankful that he’s entering the playoffs with his mind and body feeling right.
Now with a new team, Beckham is ready to write a new story. He envisions ending the playoffs hoisting the Lombardi Trophy again – this time with the Ravens and walking off the field healthy.
“Everybody knows how the Super Bowl ended for me,” Beckham said. “It’s been a long two and a half years, so it all boils down to this. We only have four or five days guaranteed left. Everything else, you earn after that. I don’t think anybody in this building takes it lightly.
“It’s such a long journey, and you’re getting towards the end. “You might as well reap the benefits of all the hard work you put in. It starts with beating a very good team in the Houston Texans. They have everything rolling and clicking. It’s not going to be an easy task, but I think this team is up for the challenge.”
Beckham didn’t have the numbers he expected this season (35 catches, 565 yards, three touchdowns), but that doesn’t matter. The Ravens had the best record in the NFL (13-4), earned a division title and the No. 1 seed, and Beckham had moments that reminded people how special his talents are.
The chance to play with Jackson is a major reason Beckham signed with Baltimore. They talked about winning a championship together and building chemistry as the season progressed. Jackson is pleased with how that process played out.
“I believe he has been getting better each and every week throughout the offseason to returning to the player he once was,” Jackson said. “Like I said, all year he has been. But, as the playoffs start rolling, he will definitely be one of the guys.”
His chemistry solid with Jackson, Beckham hopes a championship follows. He hasn’t noticed any change with the Ravens’ quarterback during the bye, just a continuation of the focus Jackson has displayed all season.
“His eyes are on that prize,” Beckham said. “If anything he looks even more focused and locked in than ever. He’s the leader, the heart and soul of this team, and we’re just trying to find a way to scratch off another victory.”
Beckham isn’t looking beyond Saturday’s game and considers the Texans a formidable opponent, a different team than the one Baltimore defeated 25-9 in Week 1. However, in Super Bowl LVI against the Bengals, Beckham already had a touchdown catch before his second-quarter injury and may have been on his way to winning the game’s Most Valuable Player Award.
After waiting two years to get back to the playoffs, it’s an opportunity Beckham doesn’t plan to waste.
“Odell has been through so much, and he’s worked so hard, and it hasn’t been easy,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “There is a lot of pain involved there over the course of the last two years, and even throughout the course of the season, in terms of working through the different challenges.
“He’s at his best right now. You see him out there; he looks really good, he’s moving around excellent, [he’s] fast, he’s catching the ball [and] he’s running great routes, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he does.”