Top 5 QB-RB-WR Combos in the NFL

Cowboys Trio

It’s a hectic time in the NFL right now with free agency and all of the trades happening right before our eyes. It’s a time when every NFL fan can start getting excited about next season to see what their team can prove with their new free agent additions and unfortunately, free agent losses. However, let’s put all of this chaotic free agency talk aside for a minute and focus on team accomplishments during the 2014 season. Let’s explore the top 5 Quarterback-Running Back-Wide Receiver trios in the NFL throughout last season. These choices don’t necessarily depict specific statistical numbers, but how much of an impact these players made for their teams success.

Here is the list:

 

  1. Baltimore Ravens- Joe Flacco/ Justin Forsett/ Steve Smith

Record: 10-6

The Baltimore Ravens had a typical Baltimore Ravens year filled with hard fought, defensive battles, and most importantly, a playoff appearance. The Ravens allowed the 5th fewest points on defense this past season, and that doesn’t come as a surprise when we think of the success of Ravens defenses in recent years. A big reason this Ravens trio made the top 5 was due to the Ravens offensive production this past season as they ranked in the 8th spot in points scored. Joe Flacco continues to prove that he can win in this league, and anybody that questions that can look back at his 2013 Super Bowl MVP honors in the Ravens 34-31 Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Two new additions to the Baltimore Ravens, Justin Forsett and Steve Smith, showed what they can do when they are put in the right offense. Once Ray Rice was dismissed from the team due to his assault allegations, the Ravens running game had a huge question mark. Justin Forsett stepped into the role and finished 5th in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,266, while leading the league with the most 20+ yard carries with 17. Forsett was able to open up the passing game for Joe Flacco, benefiting the savvy veteran WR Steve Smith. Even at 35 years of age, Smith showed that he’s not done just yet. He finished the season with 1,065 yards and 6 touchdowns which really got the Ravens offense rolling early in the season. With his mean, determined attitude on the field, Steve Smith continued to show that he is not afraid of any defender in the NFL.

 

  1. Denver Broncos-Peyton Manning/ C.J. Anderson/ Demaryius Thomas

Record: 12-4

Many will call me crazy for putting Peyton Manning and the almighty Denver Broncos at 4th on the list, but there are reasons for this decision. Despite another terrific statistical season from Peyton Manning, the Broncos had another early exit in the playoffs as they couldn’t live up to the high expectations. Another reason for placing the Broncos at #4 on the list is their unstable running back situation throughout the season. The best out of the three backs between C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman, and Montee Ball turned out to be C.J. Anderson with 849 yards rushing. I give Anderson credit for what he accomplished throughout the season, but most backs in the NFL can succeed when Peyton Manning is under center for defenses to worry about. Demaryius Thomas, however, had a typically great season finishing 2nd in the NFL with 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns. Thomas put up numbers that he usually puts up due to his combination skill set of sheer size, speed, and length. Like I said earlier, the Broncos without a doubt deserve a top 5 spot on the list, and maybe if it weren’t for a season cut short and an iffy rushing situation the Broncos would be competing for the #1 spot.

 

  1. Green Bay Packers- Aaron Rodgers/ Eddie Lacy/ Jordy Nelson

Record: 12-4

Green Bay, to no surprise, had another great season, but nothing that was not already expected from them. Aaron Rodgers continues to prove why he is one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the NFL after winning his second MVP award. Rodgers finished 7th in passing with 4,381 yards along with throwing 38 touchdowns with only five interceptions on the season. Eddie Lacy started the season off slow, but really rallied to show the powerful back he could be. Lacy finished 7th in the NFL with 1,139 yards and nine touchdowns. Another compliment to the Packers offense was the versatile receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson finished 4th in the NFL in receiving with 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. All three players in this trio had productive seasons for the Green Bay Packers, but not enough for me to put them in the top 2 on the list. I will explain below.

 

  1. Dallas Cowboys- Tony Romo/ DeMarco Murray/ Dez Bryant

Record: 12-4

The Dallas Cowboys; arguable the most criticized and debated team in the whole NFL. Americas team exceeded expectations this past season posting a 12-4 record after years of mediocrity. What Tony Romo was able to accomplish this season was astonishing despite all of the criticism that he has taken over the years. This season Romo stepped over the criticism, and played through nagging injuries to push the Cowboys in position to make a run in the playoffs. Romo finished the season with 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns, and impressively only 9 interceptions. As for DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant, this season was one for the record books. DeMarco Murray was able to accomplish what no other running back in Cowboys history was able to accomplish. He led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,845 breaking legend RB Emmitt Smith’s franchise rushing record of 1,798 rushing yards. As good of a season that DeMarco Murray had for the Cowboys, Dez Bryant may have had an even better one. The dynamic receiver showed how dominant he can be against any defender in the league. Dez Bryant had 1,320 receiving yards and a notable 16 touchdown receptions. Those 16 touchdowns landed Bryant in the Cowboys record book surpassing legend WR Terrell Owens. This season as a whole for the Dallas Cowboys was an important one as they exceeded the critics expectations across the board.

 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ben Roethlisberger/ Le’Veon Bell/ Antonio Brown

Record: 11-5

When it comes to complete domination in all three categories, this trio is atop the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger continues to prove that his toughness, and ability to stand in the pocket and throw with such confidence and power has kept him as a top tier quarterback in the NFL. This past season, Roethlisberger was tied for first in passing yards with 4,952 yards. He added 32 touchdowns and only threw 9 interceptions with a QB rating of 103.3. As for the man standing alongside Roethlisberger in the backfield, Le’Veon Bell also had himself an outstanding season. With the reinvention of the jump cut, and ability to burst through any hole, Bell finished 2nd in the NFL running for 1,361 yards and 8 touchdowns. Perhaps the WR portion of this dynamic trio has proved to be as dominant as they come. Antonio Brown has proved to the rest of the league that he is essentially not guardable. Brown led the lead statistically once again with an astonishing 129 receptions, 1,698 yards, and 13 touchdowns. All three members of the Steelers trio were in the top 2 in their respective categories. These three led the injury prone Steelers to win the battle tested AFC North division, and post another great season.

 

BONUS: Honorable Mention

Detroit Lions- Matthew Stafford/ Joique Bell/ Golden Tate

Record: 11-5

While the Detroit Lions did not make my top 5, I thought they were deserving of an honorable mention. Although the Lions offense did not put up the numbers that they have in recent years, they continued their winning ways with a playoff appearance. The Lions offense was plagued by injuries, and the biggest of them all was the injury to star WR Calvin Johnson. The absence of Calvin Johnson for a portion of the season could have been a reason for Stafford’s lower numbers with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Although Calvin Johnson posted another 1,000 yard season, he has not been as effective as he has been in past seasons. What kept the Lions passing game from faulting completely was the emergence of WR Golden Tate. Tate gave the Lions 99 receptions with 1,331 receiving yards making big play after big play. As for the running game, Joique Bell stepped up big time for the Lions. The power back guided the Lions running game while RB Reggie Bush battled injuries the while season. Bell rushed for 860 yards and 7 touchdowns helping the Lions make the playoffs in a tough NFC Conference.

-Follow me at @SportsMeccaBran

-Brandon Belluardo

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