It came to him––the statement he’d been looking to make, the sign of life he’d been searching for––just five minutes after he made his return to MetLife Stadium for a primetime contest against the Jets on Monday.
Odell Beckham Jr., playing on his former home field for the first time as a member of the Cleveland Browns, was lined up at the Jets’ 37-yard line. Baker Mayfield dropped back and quickly released a 33-yard dart in Beckham’s direction, hoping his receiver could rekindle some of his old magic.
He did. Somehow, someway. With a defender draped all over him, Beckham hauled in a ridiculous one-handed catch, setting the Browns up for business at the Jets’ 4-yard line. In almost the same exact spot where he first became a household name, the sixth-year veteran let it be known.
Odell Beckham Jr. is back.
Led by the All-Pro receiver's six-catch, 161-yard performance, the Browns made quick work of the Jets after that, leaving New York with a 23–3 win sparked by four scoring drives in the first half. Austin Seibert connected on field goals of 23 and 48 yards in the first quarter before Nick Chubb found the endzone on a 19-yard run in the second. Seibert added another 43-yarder just before halftime, and Cleveland cruised its way to an early 16–3 lead.
New York struggled to get anything going on offense behind Trevor Siemian, whose first start with the Jets didn’t last long. After stepping in under center to replace Sam Darnold, Siemian was forced to exit the game in the second quarter due to what appeared to be a serious ankle injury, and even after backup quarterback Luke Falk took over, the Jets finished the first half with minus-13 net passing yards.
That trend continued late into the game, despite Le’Veon Bell’s best efforts. The veteran running back put the Jets within scoring distance twice but couldn’t carry the team alone. A relentless Browns defense––including three crushing sacks from Myles Garrett––made sure to keep it that way.
When the Browns needed another offensive spark later in the third, Beckham made sure to bring his homecoming full-circle, punctuating his return with an 89-yard career-long touchdown catch-and-run to clinch Cleveland’s win.
And it was a victory the Browns desperately needed, even just two weeks into the season. With the Ravens a perfect 2–0 after Sunday’s win over the Cardinals and the Steelers (now without Ben Roethlisberger) and Bengals reeling, Cleveland had to separate itself from the bottom of the pack.
Week 1’s embarrassing loss to the Titans already had everyone wondering where the offseason hype was coming from, and next week’s visit from the Rams doesn’t make the team’s road to success any easier.
And let’s be clear: Despite the win, there are still questions the Browns need answered moving forward. The fourth quarter was sluggish. The rhythm was inconsistent. And if the Browns don’t find a way to fix it soon, they may need Beckham to play Superman every game for the team to live up to its preseason expectations.
For now, though, they can take a breather. Because on Monday, he was. That alone is worth celebrating.
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