Stats. I love stats. They can give you a lot of information and provide hard, objective evidence for an argument. They provide endless amounts of discourse. One thing, however, about stats is that while they can provide a story, they cannot provide the whole story. Sometimes you have to use your eyes in conjunction with those stats to look and see what the true story is.
There's a common perception out there that cornerback Jason Verrett, first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers, shut down Odell Beckham Jr., first-round pick of the New York Giants, because "ODB" only had one catch against him for minimal yardage when they played each other. While that stat is absolutely true (and nobody is denying that Verrett is a beast of a corner), I think the case can be made for Beckham to have played a lot better than that. So, what I've done is taken every snap Beckham took against Verrett, and put it into GIF form for you to enjoy. Let's take a look at "the whole story."
You may need to click each GIF to allow it to run.
As we can see here, Beckham beats the initial jam and uses a double move to get behind Verrett. He's open and if Mettenberger sees him, there's no safety over the top and Beckham is in for a 75-yard touchdown.
Here we see Beckham use his hands incredibly well to fight off Verrett and use his crisp route-running to gain separation. At that point when the ball gets close, Beckham is already in the air and Verrett has no chance. This is a picture perfect play by Beckham against a player in Verrett who is using terrific technique.
This is just an awesome play by Verrett, who wins this round. Beckham does a great job initially getting the move inside but look at the speed to recover by Verrett. He is able to lock up with Beckham and perfectly latches onto him right up until five yards, at which point he lets go. Beckham gets free of him, but the MIKE linebacker is dropping right into Beckham's zone and Mettenberger is forced to pull it down and run.
A win here for Beckham. He had the edge on Verrett and was streaking across the goal line. Two things busted this play, the first being a horrid throw from Mettenberger. Beckham had to slow down, which allowed Verrett to catch up. If Mettenberger threw an accurate pass, that's a touchdown. Secondly, Verrett committed pass interference on Beckham which resulted in a first-and-goal for LSU.
A terrific play here by Verrett. He again sticks to Beckham like glue and forces Odell to go inside through the traffic. By then, it's too late for Mettenberger as he is forced to throw the ball away. This is the second time against Verrett that Beckham was not able to maintain separation simply due to excellent use of hands and an unreal hip turn by the TCU corner.
There isn't any way for use to see the actual route run by Beckham against Verrett here, but we do see the end result, which shows Beckham running what I believe is a comeback route (one of his best run routes) and getting a gulf of separation from Verrett. I have to think that this throw was perfectly synced with his route break for him to get that much room, but it shows the technique and skill by Beckham to make that turn in.
This play is a toss up. I know that statistically, this goes down as a pass break up against Beckham by Verrett, but watching closely, you see that Beckham gets behind Verrett. This is a badly thrown ball by Mettenberger. It stays up in the air for way too long and he holds on to the ball for about four seconds in the video. That allows Verrett's terrific recovery speed to come up once he's assured of safety help to go up and knock it away. A ball thrown when Beckham was at the 30-yard line would be a routine completion.
This was a clash between two titans. Despite their dimunitive size (Beckham is 5-foot-11 and Verrett is 5-foot-10), they showed why they were first-round picks. Did Verrett "shut down" Odell Beckham?
Technically, yes, but we saw that in reality, it was a pretty even battle. Verrett "won" two out of the seven plays in which he went up against Beckham. There was one play where he had a pass break up, but Beckham won initially. Then there were two plays where Beckham caught a pass against him. There was one more play where Verrett was called on a pass interference, and finally, the very first play of the game, where had the QB seen Beckham, Verrett would've been torched for a 75-yard TD.
So in my eyes, myth ... busted.