Why Gordon is NFL's best WR

Despite lackluster quarterback play, receiver is putting up record statistics

Updated: December 14, 2013, 1:54 PM ET
By John Parolin | ESPN Stats & Info

Josh Gordon AP Photo/Tony DejakCleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon averages 127.3 yards per game, the best in the NFL.

Aqib Talib is not an easy guy to burn.

One of the premier cornerbacks in the league this season, Talib of the New England Patriots has defended or intercepted 1.5 passes per game, best among any player with at least five games played.

Talib's 2013 résumé includes limiting some of the top weapons in the NFL. A.J. Green, Vincent Jackson, Steve Smith, Jimmy Graham and Demaryius Thomas all failed to reach five catches or 62 yards receiving against the Patriots, largely because of Talib.

His assignment for much of this past Sunday was Browns receiver Josh Gordon, the newly minted first player in NFL history to record back-to-back games with at least 200 receiving yards, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Gordon vs. Talib was a compelling matchup within the game, and it was largely a draw at halftime.

At 1:37 of the third quarter, that was no longer the case. Gordon's outside-in slant route created almost 2 yards of separation between him and Talib. Gordon turned a 9-yard Jason Campbell throw into an 80-yard touchdown, highlighting every facet of why Gordon is currently the best receiver in the league -- especially considering with whom he's playing.


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