Odell Beckham, Jr. is unquestionably one of the best young wide receivers in football, even if he doesn’t exactly play for a great team. In 59 career games, he has caught 390 passes for 5476 yards and 44 touchdowns. In 12 games this season, he has caught 77 passes for 1052 yards and six touchdowns.
During his first three seasons, he took the league by storm, putting up 288 receptions for over 3000 yards and 35 touchdowns in 43 games. The New York Giants paid him handsomely even after an injury-plagued 2017 season because he is just that good.
While he didn’t play yesterday for the Giants, he was watching the games, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have one of the best young wide receivers in the game today in JuJu Smith-Schuster, just 22 years old in his second season.
The 2017 second-round pick has put up some big numbers this season, sitting at 106 receptions for 1389 yards and six touchdowns heading into the season finale. But his latest reception also produced the first fumble of his career, which he lost near field goal range at the end of a three-point loss. He was clearly and visibly emotional for putting the ball on the ground at the end.
Beckham took to Twitter after the game to show the young man some love. “Head high killa!”, he wrote. “These moments make u… never break u! ‘The ultimate measures of a man is not where he stands at moments of comfort n convience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’”.
@TeamJuJu head High killa! These moments make u… never break u! “The ultimate measures of a man is not where he stands at moments of comfort n convience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy..”
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) December 24, 2018
Beckham himself has certainly dealt with his own adversity over the course of his career, and being in the biggest market in the United States doesn’t necessarily help matters—nor does losing games. The Steelers have done a lot of winning in Smith-Schuster’s young career, going 13-3 in his rookie season.
Though they were one-and-one in the postseason, he really experienced the Steelers at their best last season, and perhaps he is adjusting to a more realistic average. Obviously the team can do better than they have this season, but 13-3 nor 9-6-1 are what you would typically expect. More in the 10-12-win range.
Smith-Schuster has been critical in some big late-game moments fairly often in his young career. Some of them haven’t always worked out in the end, such as his long gains against the New England Patriots last year and then against the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this season at the ends of games.
Yesterday was the first time that he was the goat in one of those failed moments, to date the lowest moment of his professional career, a moment that wipes out much of the good that he achieved on his 11 receptions for 115 yards.
But he has shown signs of having the mental resilience to bounce back and use it to fuel him rather than to go into the tank. He came into this game nursing an injury as it is. Expect him to finish off the year lit.