NFL.com saw fit to look back on the great quarterback-wide receiver tandems of the 1990s. So which pairings are among the best of today?
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson
There probably is no more productive pair in the NFL today than Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. Together they have literally broken records. Stafford topped 5,000 yards passing in 2011. Johnson went over 1,900 yards receiving in 2012, including over 300 yards in a single game. Since 2011, the first time Stafford completed a full season, they have since connected 302 times for 5,137 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall
It’s very rare that a passing combination can span two different teams but apparently nothing could keep Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler apart from All-Pro receiver Brandon Marshall for long. The two actually started out together in Denver. It didn’t take long for a connection to develop. By the time Cutler was traded to Chicago they had amassed 224 reception for 2823 yards and 14 touchdowns in just 36 games. Since their reunion with the Bears, the connection is deeper than ever and should continue for years to come.
Eli Manning and Victor Cruz
Few quarterbacks have seen more turnover at the wide receiver position than Eli Manning of the New York Giants. He accomplished the rare feat of winning two rings with two completely different groups. However, he would be the first to say the second one was never a possibility until the Giants gave him Victor Cruz. The former undrafted free agent didn’t wait long to become the go-to guy for Manning. In three full seasons together they have racked up 3,626 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green
They came in as rookies together and swiftly turned around the fortunes of the Cincinnati Bengals. People like to say Andy Dalton doesn’t have the ability of an elite level NFL quarterback. Still, he is smart enough to know where to go with the football. He saw right away what A.J. Green would be. There is not a player he trusts more to go get the football, as evidenced by the 260 connections for 3,833 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Matt Ryan and Roddy White
The arrival of Julio Jones made a lot of NFL fans forget how amazingly productive the tandem of Matt Ryan and Roddy White were before his arrival. Prior to 2013, the Atlanta Falcons stars never had a season with under 80 catcher, 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns together. That sort of efficiency is hard to come by in modern pro football, be it because of free agency or injury. Whether they have another couple runs in them is debatable, but over the past six years there have been few better.