Who doesn’t love the wide receiver position? It is one of the most exciting positions to watch during a football game. You can see speed and agility along with a high level of talent. You will notice acrobatic catches and quaterbacks hitting their wide receivers in stride. These players often obtain the first downs needed while also scoring touchdowns, making fans scream with joy while their opponents wince in agony. In short, they are a thrilling part of the game.
When an NFL team is lucky enough to have two wide receivers doing all the work, it can be even more exciting. These types of performances from wide receiver duos are not as common as I thought after diving into some research – it is an accomplishment an offensive coordinator must be proud of in the NFL. Last year in the NFL, there were just four teams who were able to achieve this recognition.
Let’s review the 1,000 yard receiving duos and consider who could make the cut this upcoming season.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
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When you likely first tried to think of which four teams reached this benchmark, you likely thought of teams with a great quarterback – that would be true with this tandem. I am starting with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders because of their very strong contributions. They both were exciting wide receivers to watch whether catching a Peyton Manning perfectly thrown ball or one of his wounded duck passes. This twosome did something the other three wide receiver groups did not achieve – they also both had over 100 receptions. Demaryius Thomas contributed 111 catches while Emmanuel Sanders added 101 successful grabs. Together, Thomas (1,619 yards) and Sanders (1,404 yards) had just over 3,000 yards combined. They were not too shabby when it came to touchdowns, either, combining for 20 touchdowns in an amazing season.
Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
As soon as you started reading this article and saw Denver achieved this level of greatness you may have felt the Packers could match them with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. If that was your thought, you would have been correct. Wouldn’t it be nice if winning the lottery was this easy and predictable? Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were not far behind Denver’s dangerous duo. Nelson pulled in 1,519 yards followed by Cobb with 1,287. This wide receiver duo fell just short of being the top duo yardage pair by raking in 2,806 yards – this was a mere 217 yards behind the Denver duo of Thomas and Sanders. This was truly nothing to be ashamed of by any means and they captured the touchdown crown of all four duo’s at 25 touchdowns. Jordy Nelson stole one more touchdown than Randall Cobb by posting 13 for the year. They had an impressive receipt total as well Nelson (98) Cobb (91).
Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
It is easy to grasp the idea that Calvin Johnson should be in this elite group. Golden Tate began his career as a Seattle Seahawk and was signed by the Detroit Lions in 2014. This was a head scratcher move to some in the twitter community at first, but it soon turned out to be the missing ingredient for the Lions wide receiver position as he had a career high 99 receptions in his first year as a Lion. Together they snagged 170 catches for 2,408 yards. Calvin Johnson fought through an ankle injury missing three games. It seems highly possible Johnson and Tate could have been the #1 combo of all four teams if Megatron had stayed healthy. Everything I have read points all arrows to Calvin Johnson being 100% healthy going into training camp this season, though. It will be exciting to see how another year in the Lions system helps Stafford find his two favorite wide receivers.
Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This brings us to the final group of wide receivers to achieve 1,000 yards in one season during 2014. Our final team lacked outstanding quarterback play, making it impressive in its own right. Sub-par play from the signal caller did not stop wide receivers Mike Evans (1,051 yards) and Vincent Jackson (1,002 yards) from breaking into this rare group and they were able to reach this accomplishment with a mere 138 catches. They started the year with Josh McCown, but in week three he experienced a thumb injury sidelining him four games. Although Mike Glennon was again able to find the magic potion and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in his first full game as a starter in 2014, he fell quickly losing the next four games. McCown was back under center after his fall from grace, but Tampa Bay continued to struggle for the remaining of the year. Evans was able to grab 12 touchdowns while Vincent Jackson managed only two. I suspect the Buccaneers are looking forward to this tandem’s stats increasing with the addition of Jameis Winston.
Sidebar Achievement Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
I debated on whether to present this achievement due to the article focusing on wide receivers solely. In the end, I added this sidebar note of excellence because there was also one wide receiver / tight end tandem to achieve 1,000 yards in the 2014 season. Kelvin Benjamin (WR) and Greg Olsen (TE) calculated exactly the same number of yards in 2014 with 1,008. Cam Newton did favor his rookie wide receiver by targeting Benjamin 146 times, however the veteran pass catcher and tight end for Carolina, Greg Olsen, caught more passes with a monster total of 122 receptions.
Who Drops Out, Who Sneaks In?
You could reason all of the groups can repeat, but my favorite to repeat double 1,000 yard wide receiver totals in 2015 is the duo of Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. I know Calvin, when healthy, is a force to be reckoned with and they do not seem to get enough play making abilities from their tight end position to warrant a change in Golden Tate’s stat line. Even if Eric Ebron (TE), steps up his game, it likely increases the tight end touchdown grabs more than effecting Tate’s yardage – he had the greatest yards after catch total (YAC) than all eight receivers in this article at 691.
It is fascinating predicting who could break into this elite group for the upcoming 2015 season. I actually like the odds for T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson of the Indianapolis Colts to make their debut on this list next year. When I look at the Colts, I feel they have the perfect recipe to join this group at the winner’s table – I believe a more than solid running game with exceptional quarterback play will help them get the job done.
Who do you think can break into this elite group in 2015?
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