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Beckham, not Eli to blame for Week 13 interception

Beckham connected with New York Giants wide receiver Russell Shepard on a 49-yard touchdown pass (yes, you read that right) that sparked the entire offense on route to a 30-27 upset victory over the AFC North-leading Chicago Bears in Week 13.

After the game, Giants fans learned the touchdown pass — Beckham’s second of the season on only his second passing attempt — did not go according to plan. The play was designed as a fake reserve to Beckham where his plan was to then throw a pass attempt to the right sideline intended for Giants wide receiver Bennie Fowler. The Bears read the designed pass play and did an excellent job of covering Fowler on the play. When he saw Fowler covered, Beckham decided to freelance. First, Beckham decided he was going to turn the play into a rushing attempt before firing a 49-yard touchdown pass down the field to wide receiver Russell Shepard at the last second from an unbalanced base (his feet were never set).

According to Shepard, the play was designed for him to serve as a blocker but he decided to freelance when he saw a crease opening up down the field. The rest was history.

“Probably blocking Khalil Mack so he could throw the ball,” Shepard said of his responsibilities on the play.

“He did an amazing job of seeing me,” Shepard added. “For him to see me and not know I was supposed to be there is crazy.”

It takes freakish athleticism for a non-quarterback to make a throw like that and Giants rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta — who was recently promoted to the No. 2 role — was in absolute disbelief to watch this play unfold in real time.

“That was amazing,” Lauletta said he told Beckham, via Dan Duggan of The Athletic. “I told him when he came over, I was like, ‘Dude, you threw that with the wrong foot forward. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.”

Giants veteran Eli Manning was equally as impressed.

“Sometimes you have to draw it up in the dirt,” Manning said after the game.

Beckham explained what he saw on the touchdown.

“I told Bennie (Fowler) I don’t care what happens, I’m going to throw it to you and they double covered him and this grown man (Shepard) from LSU who I’ve played with for a long time, I saw him down the middle of the field and I was like this can’t be real and I just launched it to him,” Beckham said. “It’s all good, he wasn’t supposed to do that, but he’s just playing football and he came up with a huge play for us. Very, very, very big play.”

Shepard had high praise on the play for Beckham.

“He’s (Beckham) the best person I’ve seen with a ball in his hands,” Shepard said. He can hit a home run in an MLB stadium, he can kick a soccer ball. I’ve known him since he was 16, 17 and he’s probably one of the best people I’ve see with a ball in his hands. He kicked a 50-yard field goal a couple weeks ago.”

This wasn’t the first time Beckham threw a touchdown pass that traveled at least 40 yards in the air this season. Earlier this season, Beckham connected on a touchdown pass that traveled more than 40 yards in the air to running back Saquon Barkley. 

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