EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) While the wow factor might be missing from Odell Beckham's game in his second season in the NFL, the New York Giants receiver is quietly having another big year.
Beckham is in the top 10 in the league in six categories - receptions, yards receiving, third-down catches, first downs, most yards from scrimmage and leading scorers among non-kickers.
Even more important, when the Giants and Eli Manning need a big play, it tends to be Beckham getting the ball.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend, there wasn't a highlight reel one-handed catch in the end zone.
All Beckham did was get his hands under a low pass for a 9-yard gain on third down that helped New York use up most of the final five minutes in what turned out to be a 32-18 win.
That's the way the season has gone. Beckham has 59 catches for 759 yards and seven touchdowns. Twenty of his catches have been on third down and 39 have resulted in first downs.
What's even more impressive is that Beckham has drawn a ton of double coverage and produced despite playing two games with a hamstring injury.
''As far as the numbers go? It's kind of one of those things that it'll just build up and build up,'' Beckham said Thursday after the Giants (5-4) practiced for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots (8-0).
''Can't really look too much into it. I'll tell you it feels way better to just win. We're close to winning as many games this year as we did last year. So we've made improvement on that end and just keep continuing to improve.''
The Giants first-round pick last year, Beckham became an overnight success story after missing the first four games with a hamstring injury. His one-handed TD catch in a nationally televised night game against Dallas made him an Internet sensation and his statistics for 12 games on a bad team were phenomenal - 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said that he would not be surprised if Patriots coach Bill Belichick tries to take Beckham out of the game by double teaming him.
''We just (have) to come out and play our game,'' McAdoo said. ''We can't chase anything, we have to let the game come to us. We have to have some patience with it and he'll have an opportunity during the course of the game at some point and if you play with poise and take advantage of the opportunity when your number is called, that's all you can do.''
Beckham understands that. He is a smart football player and playing is what he loves to do.
After the win over the Bucs, Beckham stayed on the field a couple of minutes and talked to Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans. They didn't discuss their personal lives. They talked football, particularly, catching the ball in the rain.
It had rained in the second half and Beckham alternated playing with and without gloves. In dry weather, gloves prevent the laces of the ball from cutting your hands. In the rain or extreme heat, wearing gloves can make it harder to catch a ball.
That's what Beckham is about, playing football.
''Always,'' he said. ''It's hard right now for it to leave my mind, something I care so much for. I'll leave the game and no matter what, there's always something that I'm like I could have did better, always.
''Any game, there's always something I'm looking for to see what I did wrong or what I didn't do well enough. So it's kind of hard for my mind to leave anything but football right now.''
On Sunday, Beckham will be looking to get the best of Tom Brady and the Patriots.
''Going into the league, you get to do all these things and this is one of those ones that's at the top of the list is playing against the Patriots and Belichick and Brady and everything that they have there,'' Beckham said. ''It's definitely exciting.''
NOTES: Giants starting left guard Justin Pugh returned to practice Thursday after missing a day because of dehydration. ... Cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral) and tight end Larry Donnell (neck) probably will not play on Sunday. They probably will return after the bye week. ... Receiver Victor Cruz (calf) hopes to start making cuts during his running on Saturday. He has been running in straight lines since last week. He had yet to play this season.
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