The viewers around the country watching the game knew Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III made a huge mistake scoring that touchdown with 1:32 remaining on the clock. The New York Giants had all three of their timeouts remaining as well, but they ended up not needing them. QB Eli Manning launched a 77-yard beauty to WR Victor Cruz in what turned out to be the game-winning score shortly after the Redskins thought they had the game-winning score.
Cruz is third in the league in receptions with 50, behind New England Patriots WR Wes Welker and Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin. He’s also tied for first in touchdown receptions along with WR A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals and WR James Jones of the Green Bay Packers with seven touchdown receptions. All of this comes after a season in which Cruz caught 82 passes for over 1,500 yards and nine touchdown receptions.
After Cruz’s spectacular breakout 2011 season, many thought he would come back down to earth this season. After all, he was an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of UMass, which isn’t a school that produces a lot of NFL players. However, with the injuries the Giants have suffered at the receiver position in the past two seasons, Cruz has been the lone reliable option for Manning every game. With his ability to work the slot and the outside, Cruz opens himself up to more opportunities.
With all of this being said, is the Manning-Cruz duo the best in the NFL today? The Patriots have had a dynamic duo of their own with Welker pairing up with QB Tom Brady. Some have made the argument that Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler has been better so far this season due to his reunion with WR Brandon Marshall. Cutler and Marshall were teammates with the Denver Broncos from 2006 to 2008, developing a great rapport in the 2008 season.
While Manning and Cruz have been excellent the past season and a half, the duo of Brady and Welker remains at the top. If Manning and Cruz continue their collective onslaught of opposing defenses, the Brady-Welker duo will have to slide down.