Minnesota wide receiver Chad Beebe went from scapegoat to hero in a matter of minutes on Sunday, as the Vikings completed a 28-27 come-from-behind victory over the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers led 24-21 with a little over two minutes remaining in the game but were forced to punt. Back deep to receive was Beebe. He muffed the punt, the Panthers recovered and the game seemed over. Yet Carolina managed only a field goal, leaving Minnesota needing to drive the length of the field for a touchdown in under two minutes to win.
And that’s just what the Vikings did.
With 46 seconds to go and Minnesota at the Carolina 10-yard line, quarterback Kirk Cousins found Beebe open in the end zone. This time, he caught it. Memory of the muffed punt vanished as elated teammates mobbed the receiver and he catapulted himself into the national spotlight.
The extra point provided the final margin of victory.
— Nick Olson (@NickOlsonNFL) November 30, 2020
Beebe’s game-winner was his seventh reception of the game for 63 yards (both career-highs) and was the first touchdown of his NFL career. He was the major beneficiary of Minnesota’s star wideout Adam Thielen missing the game due to to COVID-19 protocols.
The muff was still on Beebe’s mind after the game, but what came after was as well.
“It’s my job to catch the ball and I didn’t,” Beebe told the Star Tribune. “I didn’t do my job. So I definitely felt like it was a personal deal. But at the end of the day, I came to the sideline and my teammates picked me up and they made it feel like it was a team thing. We just carried on with that confidence through the end of the game and finished strong.”
Cousins said after the game that he had full trust in his teammate as he delivered the pass.
“He’s a great player,” Cousins told Vikings.com. “He showed it today, and he’s one of those guys where if we give him opportunities, he’s going to make plays.”
Beebe, little-used in his third year with the Vikings after going undrafted out of Northern Illinois, has a recognizable last name in football circles thanks in large part to his father, Don Beebe. His father played wide receiver in the NFL from 1989-1997 and won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. Perhaps his most memorable play, however, came in Super Bowl XXVII with the Buffalo Bills, when he chased down Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett after a fumble recovery and stripped him of the ball inches before crossed the goal line.
But as Chad seeks to make a name for himself and build his own NFL career, he has been strengthened by his faith in God.
“It hasn’t been always the easiest road,” Beebe told CBS Sports back in 2019, “but I just kept hanging on to my faith in the Lord, and He’s brought me a long way … That’s the biggest thing in my life, and I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that, and so, for me not to tell people about that, I’d be crazy. I hold that dear to my heart.”
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Beebe said he lives by what is written in Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
“That’s just, basically, being patient in affliction and joyful in hope,” he told CBS. “I’ve had a lot of trials and tribulations throughout my career, mostly due to injury … and that passion was never taken from me. The Lord continued to press that passion in me.”
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Grounded in faith, Beebe’s next opportunity to impress his teammates and coaches will come Sunday when the Vikings host the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1 p.m. ET. Minnesota is now back in the hunt for an NFC wild-card spot with a 5-6 record.
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