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Odell Beckham Jr.'s big plays for Rams not limited to catching passes

Early in the third quarter of Monday night's Wild Card Round playoff game against the Cardinals, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford took the snap, then immediately fired a short pass well behind the line of scrimmage to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr..

The consequent distance between Beckham and the line of scrimmage gave him plenty of space to drop back multiple steps, set his feet and fire a 40-yard completion to running back Cam Akers downfield.

"(Rams head coach Sean) McVay, like I told you, he just had a lot of confidence," Beckham said prior to Friday's practice. "We ran it in practice and I was literally throwing right into where the wind is coming from and I didn't have my best throw and didn't connect with Cam. So, I didn't know if we were going to get a chance to run it. Sometimes those types of things happen and it's taken out. He was like, 'I'm calling it.' And I was like, 'Bet. I'm (going to) be ready to go.'"

Two plays later, Stafford hit wide receiver Cooper Kupp for a 7-yard touchdown pass to put the Rams up 28-0 in an eventual 34-11 victory advancing them to the Divisional Round.

"Just happy that we connected on it," Beckham said. "And it's always a lot of fun when you're in those places of the game where you still could run a play like that. It's just kind of a momentum killer. We were already up and ahead and just finding the ways to keep connecting and making plays."

Add it to the list of big plays Beckham has continued to make since joining the Rams, where his growing comfort has become evident every week.

Between the regular season and playoffs, Beckham has scored a touchdown in six of his last eight games as a Ram. In his nine games with Los Angeles, he's put up 31 receptions for 359 yards and six touchdowns overall.

Stafford on Wednesday credited "constant communication" for the growth in his and Beckham's relationship – an important factor in that success and production.

"When I'm out there on the practice field whether I throw him the ball or I throw it somewhere else or I'm watching the tape or I'm talking to him about, 'Hey, I saw this yesterday' or he's coming up to me talking to me about, 'Hey, how do you see this route run?'" Stafford said. "He's a guy that's been in the league for a long time. He's played on some good offensives and knows what good football should look like. And at the same time is trying to kind of build his role in this offense. And as we are trying to figure out some of the things that he does well and doesn't do well – all those kind of things – it's always a process. It's continuous and he's been a pleasure to work with so far. (It's) just been a lot of fun."

That sentiment is shared by other teammates and coaches, including head coach Sean McVay, who on Friday praised Beckham for his selflessness and how he's been a great teammate since joining the team.

"(That is) what has really stood out to me and then he's made plays when he is been asked to," McVay said. "He has done everything that we've asked."

While Beckham is scheduled to become a free agent in 2022, he said he "absolutely" would love to stay with the Rams. Right now, though, he is concentrated on continuing to make plays for them and helping them advance in the playoffs.

"(I'm) just so focused on the opportunity that we have here and the reason why I chose to come here, and (I) just want to take full advantage of that and let the chips fall where they may," Beckham said. "And God will always handle the rest."

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