Ravens' OBJ looking to 'return the favor' in Rams reunion

Why Stephen A. likes the Ravens as the best team in AFC (0:55)

Stephen A. Smith outlines why he is picking the Ravens as the best team in the AFC right now. (0:55)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. --The last meeting between the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams came down to the final minute, and Odell Beckham Jr.'s outstretched arm.

In January 2022, Beckham, who was with the Rams at the time, took a seven-yard pass from Matthew Stafford with 57 seconds remaining and scored the winning touchdown when he extended the ball over the pylon. It gave the Rams a 20-19 victory in Baltimore and represented another step in an eventual Super Bowl title run.

"Hopefully, I can do the same thing and return the favor to them," Beckham said before Sunday's reunion with the Rams at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium (1 p.m. FOX).

Beckham spent half a season with the Rams in 2021 (including the postseason), but he sees that time as a turning point in his career. After being traded by the New York Giants and waived by the Cleveland Browns in a two-year span, Beckham enjoyed a revival in Los Angeles.

In 12 games with the Rams (including playoffs), Beckham became a playmaker again, making 48 catches for 593 yards and seven touchdowns. He delivered some big performances to help spur a championship season for Los Angeles, including scoring the first touchdown in the Super Bowl before leaving with a left knee injury in the second quarter.

This week, Beckham joked about engaging in some playful trash talking with his former teammates in a group chat.

"It's a special bond that I have with those guys over there - 'Coop' [Cooper Kupp], Stafford," Beckham said. "It's just all love and respect. The whole situation and organization brought me back to loving and having joy for football and understanding true professionalism and being prepared.

"It was just a great experience for me, alongside winning a Super Bowl. Overall, it was one of the best things that's happened in my life."

Beckham has kept ties with the Rams, especially with coach Sean McVay. In June 2022, Beckham crashed McVay's wedding at the Beverly Hills Hotel. McVay pointed out that Beckham looked "smooth" on the dance floor and felt compelled to get the team doctor to ask the wide receiver to take it easy on his surgically repaired knee.

"It was a blessing to be able to coach him and he's as fun a guy as there is," McVay said this week. "He's so talented. He works hard. He's a great teammate. I mean, the ways that he elevated our program and what he meant to our team, you appreciate the person so much."

After sitting out last season to allow his knee to fully recover, Beckham had to deal with an ankle and hamstring injuries that led to a slow start. He didn't score a touchdown in the first eight weeks of the season, totaling 14 receptions for 162 yards over that span.

But Beckham is heating up. Over the last four games, he has scored two touchdowns and produced Baltimore's only 100-yard receiving game of the season.

Just like he did for the Rams, Beckham is providing a late-season spark for the Ravens. He's hoping it will lead to another ring.

The Ravens have named Beckham as one of their three captains for this game.

"He's making plays, and he's really coming into his own health-wise right now and getting strong and faster," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It's a big road back from where he had to come from. You see it every single week. You guys watch the game, there's an explosive element to what he's doing. He can really go. I know he's going to make a bunch of big plays down in the stretch here."