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Coughlin considered benching Beckham, but wanted “him out there to win”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 20: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants reacts after a scuffle in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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The Giants made an unexpected comeback from 28 points down to briefly tie the Panthers in the fourth quarter of a 38-35 loss on Sunday, but the team’s resiliency wasn’t the headline from the game.

It was wide receiver Odell Beckham’s behavior during his matchup with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman that loomed largest during the game. Beckham and Norman went at it after what felt like every play early in the game and the officials opted not to do much of anything about it, which allowed the situation to build to the point that Beckham launched himself at Norman’s head after one play to deliver a shot that could have led to his ejection with a different crew working the game.

Beckham drew three personal fouls overall and looked out of control for long portions of the game, leading to questions for Giants coach Tom Coughlin about why he didn’t sit Beckham in hopes of calming him down for the rest of the game. Coughlin claimed that the Giants gave it “strong consideration” before saying the chance to win trumped the dresire to cool Beckham’s endless emotional outbursts.
“Because I didn’t take him out. Because I wanted him to play the game,” Coughlin said. “He’s got to learn at some point how to deal with some things on the field. No, I’m not willing to deal with the penalties. I’m not willing to deal with anything. I want him out there to win the football game. But, again, he’s on our team and he made some mistakes today and I’m hoping he’ll recognize that and learn from it.”

Coughlin’s never seemed the type to put up with a player putting himself ahead of the team the way that Beckham did on Sunday, but the first 13 games of the season made it pretty clear that the Giants’ chances of winning are heavily attached to Beckham making plays. That message was delivered when Beckham’s earlier, milder bouts of petulance this season were shrugged off, but Sunday will be harder to ignore if the Giants want Beckham to keep things under control in the future.