Considering the feat that Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree accomplished this season, I wanted to look at every time in Raiders history that two receivers went over 1,000 yards in a single season together. If you don’t think the past is anything important than you are wrong. Only three times in team history have receiving duos broken 1,000 yards together in the same season. It may come as a surprise to some but the most commonly known dynamic duo of Cliff Branch and Fred Biletnikoff never achieved this feat.
However, three other duos have done it and so I wanted to look at how Cooper and Crabtree stand up against their predecessors.
Obviously these duos played on different teams, with different quarterback, offenses, coaches and opponents. I get that, Raider Nation, but this still bears a look.
First, Crab and Coop.
It’s hard to tell which of the pair is Batman and which one is Robin but they are pretty tough to stop when both are on a roll. Cooper started off the season hot but as I explored in a previous article, he tapered off at the end. He ended the 2016 season with 83 receptions for 1,153 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Crabtree was fairly consistent all season but he led the league in dropped passes. Still he was the best possession receiver on the team and he made several clutch receptions that made highlight reels. Crab ended up with 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Combining their numbers over 16 games means:
12.53 yards per reception
10.75 receptions per game
The second dynamic duo to both post 1,000 yard seasons in the same year (2001) was Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. Brown slightly outplayed Rice with 91 receptions for 1,165 yards and 9 touchdowns. Rice added 83 catches for 1,139 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Combining their numbers that season means:
13.2 yards per reception
10.8 receptions per game
Fans will have to go back to 1968 to find the first time that a Raiders dynamic duo both went over 1,000 yards in the same season. Amazingly, the duo of Fred Biletnikoff and Warren Wells did this in only 14 regular season games. Far less time than the duos of Coop/Crab and Brown/Rice had.
Wells caught 53 passes for 1,137 yards and 11 touchdowns. Fred Biletnikoff added 61 receptions for 1,037 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Combining their numbers over 14 games:
19.0 yards per reception
8.1 receptions per game
So who was the best?
Obviously, the duo of Brown and Rice posted the best statistics. Crab and Cooper fall into second place with Freddy and Warren Wells falling into third. The 1968 Oakland Raiders only played 14 games though and if a researcher and Raiders history expert like myself looks inside the numbers lets be fair to Fred and Warren. Let’s look at Games 1-14 for all three dynamic duos. Then let us see who the statistically greatest dynamic duo in Raiders history was.
Through 14 regular season games:
Wells/Freddy duo: 114 receptions for 2,774 yards, 19 yards per reception, 8.1 receptions per game, 17 touchdowns.
Brown/Rice duo: 149 receptions for 2,009 yards, 13.4 yards per reception, 10.6 receptions per game, 18 touchdowns.
Crab/Coop duo: 162 receptions for 1,992 yards, 12.2 yards per reception, 11.5 receptions per game, 12 touchdowns.
Quarterbacking was not a problem for any of these duos since Gannon and Carr started 14 of 14 possible games, and Lamonica played in 13 with George Blanda taking over for 1 game. All three men threw for over 3,200 yards a piece in those 13 games with Carr leading the way with 3,705 yards. All three men threw for 24 or more touchdowns in that same 14 game span too. So these dynamic duos were getting the football fed to them on a consistent basis.
Who was the best is left to the eye of the beholder. Wells and Freddy played in a totally different era in which receivers could be mobbed downfield while the other two duos had it easy with rules that favor offenses and scoring.
What do you think?
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