Time will tell if the Falcons have some sort of miracle run in them—they’re 3-1 under Raheem Morris so far, but their 3-6 record and upcoming difficult slate suggest that won’t happen—but they are doing some good-to-great things in the last few weeks. Regardless of how the team is performing, you would expect to see Matt Ryan and Julio Jones chugging along on their respective historic paces, and that’s exactly what they’ve done thus far.
Let’s start with Julio. While 133 game is a bit of an arbitrary snapshot for CBS Sports to take, it still makes it clear that the pace #11 is on is eye-popping.
Most rec yds in NFL history— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) November 8, 2020
(First 133 career games)
1. Julio Jones (12,763)
2. Calvin Johnson (11,405)
3. Antonio Brown (11,263)
4. Torry Holt (11,141)
5. Jerry Rice (11,093) pic.twitter.com/SxoLwyF3e6
Yes, that’s Julio a full 1,300 yards ahead of Calvin Johnson and nearly 1,700 yards ahead of Jerry Rice through those 133 games. All of these guys (minus AB, who is still going) finished among the greatest receivers ever, and Julio’s pace means if he can stay healthy and keep going for a few more years, no one but Rice is likely to remain all that far ahead of him. Given that this was a relatively quiet day by Julio’s standards in a season where he’s had a couple of duds, it’s extra impressive that he’s running this far ahead.
Ryan, meanwhile, blew by Peyton Manning for the most completions by a quarterback in his first 13 seasons in the NFL.
In the first half, Matt Ryan passed Peyton Manning for the most completions in NFL History through a quarterback's first 13 seasons. pic.twitter.com/FoE3kswUoj— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 8, 2020
The big question for Ryan is just how long he plays, because the pace he’s on is going to allow him to surpass everyone between himself and Manning on the all-time leaderboard in touchdown passes, completion, and yardage in the next 3-5 seasons. These are great milestones and indicative of how good both players are, but the most impressive numbers will be the ones they tally up at their end of their respective careers, whenever those may be.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy both Ryan and Julio, because the truth is with change on the wind we just don’t know how many more years we’ll have to watch them play together.