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For Better And Worse, The First Half Of Super Bowl LVI Was Defined By Odell Beckham Jr.

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The Los Angeles Rams passing attack looked very dangerous in the first half of Super Bowl LVI. Matthew Stafford completed passes to seven different receivers, with the two biggest throws going to midseason pickup Odell Beckham Jr. On his team’s second drive, facing third-and-three from Cincinnati’s 17-yard line, Stafford lofted a beauty of a touch pass toward the right corner of the endzone, where Beckham hauled it in through tight coverage for the game’s first score.

Two drives later, on third-and-11, Beckham got loose on a crossing route, turned on the afterburners, and put the Rams in business in Bengals territory. If at this moment you felt an urge to crow at the Browns for failing to maximize the talents of one of the NFL’s most dynamic offensive weapons, you were well justified! The Bengals secondary had enough on its plate holding down Cooper Kupp; add OBJ to the mix and that’s a problem that possibly has no solution. The Rams were cooking.

Four plays into their next drive, leading 13–10, Stafford was 10 for 11 passing for 140 yards, with two scores. Stafford looked for Beckham on another third down, but this time things went sideways: Beckham reached back for a low ball, failed to secure it, and then crumpled to the turf with an alarming non-contact leg injury.

Beckham was surrounded by trainers on the field but was eventually able to hobble off under his own power, and was later seen limping around the Rams sideline. From the moment of Beckham’s injury until the end of the half, Stafford completed two of seven pass attempts for 25 yards, capped by an under-thrown endzone interception. An update provided by the Rams had Beckham questionable to return for the second half. We’ll update if Beckham returns.

Update 8:57 p.m. ET: