Bears: Alshon Jeffery Leaps Into the Elite

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For Alshon Jeffery to break the 200-yard mark in receiving once in his second season meant that he was having a breakthrough season, his doing it twice now (12 rec., 249 yds, 2 TDs Sunday) means that he’s among the best wide receivers and most powerful offensive weapons in the NFL.

It also means that the Bears have two certified No. 1 wideouts and that its likely no defensive backfield exists that can shut down both Jeffery and Brandon Marshall in one game. At the least the Bears’ have a passing game that can assert itself week to week and give the team a chance to compete, something done beautifully in one play by Jeffery Sunday, his entry in the NFL’s “catch of the year” contest.

Yet, the Bears are such a deficient team in so many other places right now — places the team has historically drew pride from, like its run defense — that a historic performance means little in the face of inept play calling (why kick on 2nd down, again?) and listless efforts to corral the opponent’s top weapon, their only weapon (AP = All Day).

The Bears put on a textbook example of how to lose to a two-win team in December but the brilliance of Jeffery will be remembered just as well as the overtime heartbreak. He didn’t come into the Bears’ fold with the same fanfare as Marshall, but Alshon Jeffery has done more in a short time to elevate the expectations at his position for a franchise that for so long has had little to no expectations for its receivers.

It has to be remembered, to put Sunday’s performance in its compete context, that only once had a Bears receiver ever broke 200 yards in a game prior to Jeffery against the Saints and that was done by the great Johnny Morris way, way back in 1962. In less than two months Jeffery has extended the team record from 201 to 249.

Jeffery is also in the rare company detailed in the tweet above, but it became a little less rare by the end of the early afternoon games Sunday when the Cleveland Browns’ Josh Gordon amazingly notched his second 200-yard receiving performance in two weeks, two damn weeks!

Gordon is another guy who has hit the express lane to all-pro status this year and he (and Week 13 Fantasy all-star Eric Decker with his four TD catches) made sure Jeffery had to share much of the shine from this week, they deserve their props as well. But Gordon did his thing against just as bad a team (Jacksonville) as Jeffery did and also lost. Interesting how none of the four occurrences of 200-yard receiving this year have led to any wins.

Decker, meanwhile, was repeatedly matched up in man coverage throughout the day against the Chiefs, his guy often completely overwhelmed (though not as much as Knowshon) and he has Peyton Manning throwing to him. Respect due, but not before Jeffery gets his.

Receivers with two 200+ receiving performances in one season

Don Huston, Green Bay, 1942

Choo-Choo Roberts, N.Y. Giants, 1949

Charlie Hennigan, Houston, 1961 (three games)

Lance Alworth, San Diego, 1963

Don Maynard, New York Jets, 1968

Calvin Johnson, Detroit, 2011 and 2012

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago, 2013

Josh Gordon, Cleveland, 2013

Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and Kyle Means @Wrk_Wrt

3 responses to “Bears: Alshon Jeffery Leaps Into the Elite

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