While the Washington Redskins implemented an aggressive gameplan to counterbalance a streaky New York Giants offense, rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hassled the secondary all afternoon on Sunday.
Already entering the game with national buzz – recording at least 90 receiving yards between Weeks 9 and 14 – Beckham Jr. hauled in a career-high 12 receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
Redskins safety Ryan Clark -- a fellow LSU alum along with Beckham Jr. – said he knew of his skillset, but that the defense simply didn't execute when given chances to knock him off his game.
"I've been seeing him since [he] was 16 years old," Clark said. "I knew what type of player he was, He was born to do that. He works at his craft, he's passionate about it.
"You can see how much trust Eli [Manning] already has in him as a rookie, to continue throwing him the ball even when he's covered. And when a guy makes plays for you the way that he has, you've got to find a way to stop him. We just didn't do that."
Entering the game, the Redskins were playing with a secondary that's had little time to work together, as defensive back Kenny Okoro was playing in only his second game with the Redskins while cornerback Justin Rogers was signed on the Wednesday leading up to the game.
Head coach Jay Gruden said Beckham Jr.'s day was a combination of great play on his part and the Redskins not making the plays needed to stop him.
"One of his touchdowns was a cloud over the top, we just failed to get a jam on him," he said. "And then, the other two he just made some plays. …I thought we did an excellent job stopping the run all night, which was good to see. I think our guys play hard up front. Just in the secondary, we're a little shorthanded there, and gave up some plays."
While Bashaud Breeland was often the cornerback tasked with covering Beckham Jr., there were a few occasions in which Rogers needed to come in for the Clemson product as he dealt with some "asthma-type attacks."
"Bashaud was taken off the field four or five times in the game," Gruden said. "He was having trouble breathing, so he had to come in there and get his little [inhaler] going or whatever it is – get his breath. ... I said, 'Bashaud, you can't come out on third down.' He said, 'I can't breathe.' 'OK, stay out.' But he's a great competitor, man. He left it all on the table, and he's a guy the defense is starting to look up to even though he's a rookie."
Cornerback David Amerson – who also covered Beckham Jr. at times during the game – said he "got the best of us."
"He's a dynamic playmaker," Amerson said. "He's a guy that runs good routes, got good hands, so you throw him the ball that many times, most likely he's going to grab them if you don't make a play on the ball. He's a great player. Young and still learning, but he's going to be a great player.
Facing a Philadelphia Eagles team known for its quick-strike offense on Saturday, Clark believes the best way to get them out a groove is to make big-time plays. In their five losses this season, the Eagles have turned the ball over 17 times.
"We need to figure out a way to make a play to get the team back rolling again," he said.