Top 5 Quarterback/Receiver Duos of 2011
If anyone out there doubts that the NFL is now a predominately passing league, check this stat: There have been 69 three hundred yard passing games, compared to only 68 one-hundred yard rushing games this season. Quarterbacks are tearing it up through the air at record paces so far. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 aerial assault tandems through the first half of the 2011 campaign:
The emergence of Cam Newton has really resurrected the career of Steve Smith. Thus far, Newton has 2,393 passing yards with 11 touchdowns. Steve Smith has caught 46 balls for 918 yards, and receiving 4 of Newton’s 11 touchdowns. They’ve hooked up for 40+ yards four times. Having a reliable guy like Steve Smith has only helped in the development of Cam, and if Smith stays healthy they could be a dangerous combo for the next few years as the Panthers try to get back on the winning track.
The reason these guys aren’t higher, plain and simple, is the fact that the Packers have a ton of weapons and Aaron Rodgers spreads the ball around quite a bit. But when he needs a go to guy, it is no doubt Mr. Jennings. Rodgers is having an insane season, and has 24 touchdown passes already to go with 2,619 yards. Of those totals, Greg Jennings has caught 6 touchdowns and hauled in 3 grabs of 40+ yards, and has 723 total yards.
The Steelers are continuing the passing theme from the previous two seasons by giving Big Ben control of the offense, and he has not disappointed. He is coming off three straight games of passing for 330+ yards, is currently 3rd in the NFL in passing yards (2,632) and has 15 touchdowns. His partner in crime Mike Wallace, who has emerged as an elite NFL receiver, has 868 yards on only 47 catches for six touchdowns and a league leading 6 catches of 40+ yards.
Welker currently leads the NFL in receptions and yards, and is by far Brady’s favorite target at wideout. Of Brady’s 212 completions on the year, Welker has snagged 66 of them, which is 32%. Brady is currently 2nd in the NFL in passing yards, and the reason this tandem isn’t #1 is simply because they lack the big play ability, only going for two plays of 40+ yards, and Welker only has 6 touchdowns as the most targeted receiver in the league. However, this duo is the model of consistency, and are the lifelines that keep a recently struggling Patriots offense afloat.
We are seeing the future right now in this duo. Stafford ranks in the top ten in every major passing category, while Megatron ranks in the top five in all major receiving categories, including leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns (11). The catch here? Stafford has 19 passing touchdowns. Johnson is the recipient of 57% of Stafford’s touchdown tosses and Johnson is second in the league in catches of 40+. The big play ability of this tandem more than makes them the clear number 1 heading into the second half of the season.