The Cleveland Browns loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a season where they are out of the playoff hunt does not diminish the incredible achievement by wide receiver Josh Gordon. A week after setting the franchise record for receiving yards in a game with 237 on 14 catches with a touchdown, the second year receiver had 10 catches for 261 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not only did he break the record he set, but he is the first receiver in NFL history to have back to back 200 yard games. And in accomplishing that feat, Gordon put the rest of the NFL on notice.
Gordon has always had talent and an incredible amount of physical ability, but the last two weeks showed just how dominant he can be. He has been dominant with three different quarterbacks under center and not lost a step. He is the rare type of receiver that makes a bad quarterback have moments where they look brilliant. In between incredible gaffes, Brandon Weeden had commentators fooled into thinking he was playing well when he was just making it easy for Weeden to be effective.
Over the past two games alone, Gordon has caught 24 passes on just 32 targets for 498 yards and 3 touchdowns. Gordon not now only has back to back 200 yard games; he has four games with over 100 yards receiving as well. In ten games, Gordon has amassed 1,249 yards receiving on 64 catches along with 7 touchdowns.
If he does not play another down this year, he still has a compelling argument to be named as one of the best in the NFL. The hope for Gordon is that this type of outstanding success is addictive and he will only want to work harder to sustain it and surpass it. Unfortunately for Gordon, he missed two games due to a drug suspension and is now one failed test away from a year out of the league.
The Browns have bet on Gordon and so far, he has rewarded them handsomely and has the talent and potential to be among the league’s elite as well as giving the Browns a receiving threat they have not had in decades (save Braylon Edwards’ 2007 season). The challenge for the Browns is now finding a quarterback with the talent to maximize his talent and give the Browns the ability to have a championship offense.
The losing is frustrating but what the Browns have in players like Gordon certainly gives the team and fans reason to believe they can make it work. Both the team and Gordon have challenges ahead of them this offseason and both need to deliver to take this team to the next level. Nevertheless, Gordon is a game changer and everything Tom Heckert hoped he could be when he was picked. Hawaii would be a nice reward for Gordon after this season, but he has the talent to do far more than that, especially if they pair him with the right signal caller.