Calvin Ridley had one dud game this year, a bizarre five target, zero reception effort against the Packers. All he’s done around that game is dominate, putting up 100-plus yards in more than half of this games this year and ringing up one of the most impressive seasons in team history. With another eye-popping effort against the Chiefs, where he put up 130 yards on just five catches and could’ve had even more with another on-target Matt Ryan throw or a decision to put on the jets in the open field, Ridley is joining some special company.
Only six other players have gotten off to the same kind of torrid start to their respective careers that Ridley has, per Kevin Keneely, and they’re all great-to-legendary receivers. It’s company that not even Canton-bound Julio Jones found himself in through his first three years, owing largely to injury.
Calvin Ridley is the seventh player in NFL history to have 200+ receptions for 3,000+ yards and 26+ touchdowns within a player’s first three seasons.— Kevin Keneely (@KevinKeneely1) December 27, 2020
Odell Beckham Jr.
Calvin Ridley pic.twitter.com/yZqTiVMsY3
It goes without saying that Ridley is on pace for career highs in both receptions and yardage, and he has a shot at equaling or exceeding his rookie year touchdown total, too. He’s currently at 82 receptions for 1,342 yards and 9 touchdowns through 14 games, the kind of production you’d expect from an elite receiver. Without injury standing in his way like last season and with Julio Jones unfortunately banged up, Ridley has seized his opportunity and has shown he is already well on his way to being one of the league’s great receivers.
He’s not just keeping great company across the league, though. With the 150 yard effort on the day against the Chiefs, Ridley matched Terance Mathis for the 11th-highest yardage total in Falcons history for a single season, and he still has a game to go. If he can manage 103 yards against an overmatched Buccaneers secondary, he can vault as high as #4, just ahead of Julio Jones and behind (you guessed it) Julio Jones, Julio Jones, and Julio Jones. He’ll also be able to move into the top 20 for receptions and tie his own top 10 mark for touchdowns if he manages another scoring grab next week.
As we’ve always said about Julio, enjoy Ridley while he’s in his prime and doing incredible things. The Falcons have been fortunate to have great receivers all these years, but Ridley is standing out even among franchise legends with the 2020 he’s putting together.