Late Wednesday morning in the Ravens’ locker room, a reporter showed Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr a headline from a story that just won’t go away.
“I’m sick of talking about it,” Carr said slowly, reading aloud what he had told reporters a year after he became a witness to maybe the greatest catch in NFL history. “That’s 2015?” he asked. It was. “Yeah, and people still talk about it.”
Carr, 33, sounded more amused than sick of the subject. On Sunday, the Ravens will host Cleveland in their AFC North opener, and at some point, Carr will likely line up across from new Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the first time since 2016.
The first time they met, in October 2014, Beckham had four catches as his New York Giants lost to Carr’s Dallas Cowboys. In their next encounter the following month, the Giants lost, too. But however many people remember that the Cowboys won by three on “Sunday Night Football,” 31-28, millions more remember what Beckham managed with just three fingers.
On the first play of the second quarter, Beckham ran a go route up the right sideline, Carr on his hip. Giants quarterback Eli Manning faked a handoff, looked in the rookie receiver’s direction and fired. As the ball soared toward the goal line, Beckham scooched past Carr, who tugged at the first-round draft pick’s left arm before losing his balance and falling out of the field of play. Beckham did the only thing he could: elevate, stab at the ball with his right hand and hope it stuck. It did.
On NBC’s telecast, analyst Cris Collinsworth said the balletic, full-extension grab, a 43-yard touchdown pass despite Carr’s pass interference, “may be the greatest catch I’ve ever seen.” A highlight of the catch has been watched more than 6 million times, more than any other single play on the NFL’s YouTube channel.
“Even kids right now are coming at me,” Carr said Wednesday. “I’m like, ‘Hey, it’ll teach you a life lesson. Life goes on, kids. Get out the past.’ That’s what I tell them when I kind of fire back at them. But it was a great catch. Great coverage, Brandon. Hell of a catch.”
Carr, who signed with the Ravens in 2017, called the highlight the most impressive catch he’s allowed in a game. (As for ever? He battled three-time Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant in Dallas, “so I’ve seen some crazy stuff.”) The play inspired even his own son to try one-handed catches. Five years later, Carr’s not ashamed of his coverage. “Pretty solid,” he said wryly. He knows what he’ll remember from that Sunday night. It’s what he hopes he can say after Sunday afternoon.
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“We won the game,” he said. “People forget about that. But life goes on. You’ve got to have a short memory at cornerback, and fast-forward however many years later, I’ll see you again. So here we are.”