Browns: Amari Cooper reaches new level thanks to rapport with Joe Flacco

Amari Cooper is heating up now that Joe Flacco is under center and the timing couldn't be better for the Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper made history on Sunday as he had the best game of his career, hauling in 11 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns. In doing so, he now has the record for the most single-game receiving yards in Cleveland Browns history.

This was also his fourth 200-yard game, and only two people in the history of the NFL have more —  Calvin Johnson and Lance Alworth who both had 5 games of 200+ yards or more and are currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cooper has been consistently great throughout his nine-year career- boasting seven 1,000-yard seasons, eight seasons of 100-plus catches, and scored at least 5 touchdowns in every season.

Yet in his ninth season, he has accumulated the most yards in a three-game stretch of his career at 485 yards. Why? His chemistry with Joe Flacco has taken his game to the next level — and the Browns are benefiting from this.

In a year with injuries and a revolving door at QB, Cooper has stepped up having 100-yard games with three different QBs: Deshaun Watson, PJ Walker, and Joe Flacco. But after Watson's final game against Baltimore, things weren't looking good for the stud WR. Over the next three weeks, he would only haul in nine of his 19 targets for less than 90 yards and zero touchdowns. It was a combination of the frequent quarterback changing as three QBs played during that span, as well as a rib injury and a concussion.

In Flacco's second start for the Browns against the Jaguars, chemistry with Cooper began to form. On the very last play of the first quarter, Flacco hit Cooper short which he turned into a 17-yard gain. From there, the duo never looked back as over the past three games, Cooper has caught 22 balls for 451 yards and three touchdowns.

His four-game stretch with Flacco is even more impressive considering how efficient he's been. His 19.4 yards per catch is a whole three yards more than his prior nine games. Cooper's 103.6 passer rating in the past four games is also remarkable considering it's astronomically higher than his prior nine games. Even when you take away the two worst games of the year — Baltimore and Indianapolis — his passer rating is still almost 20 points higher.

Looking ahead the Browns are 10-5 and with a win on Thursday would clinch the playoffs for only a third time since the franchise returned to Cleveland in 1999. A big part of the reason why the offense was still able to produce with the Browns losing Deshaun Watson and Nick Chubb was because of Cooper.

With two games to go, Cooper already has a career-high in yards and yards per catch in a season, but it's unsure if he'll top catches and touchdowns in a season as he'll need 21 and five respectively. What we do know is that the Browns have a very deadly quarterback-wide receiver duo that is getting hot just in time for the playoffs. 

More Browns news and analysis

manual