Big Ben-Antonio Brown, Tom Brady-Julian Edelman among top QB-WR duos

Few things can electrify an offense like an explosive quarterback-receiver connection. For proof, look no further than Week 2, which featured several game-breaking QB-WR partnerships, from the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown to the Cardinals' Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald and the Falcons' Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. And they weren't the only ones racking up the numbers.

Looking back over the first two weeks of the season, which quarterback-receiver combo has been the most impressive?

I have to go with a couple of old-timers in Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. The Arizona veterans are playing at the top of their games right now. Against the Bears on Sunday, Fitzgerald had three touchdown catches in a regular-season game for the first time in his 12-year career. That's pretty cool. Larry is a class act and what a receiver ought to be on and off the field. You always root for a receiver like that.

Palmer, who is coming back from his second knee surgery, has won 15 of his last 17 games. He looks really good early in the season. Palmer and Fitzgerald haven't been together forever, but they're both pros. They both work hard in the offseason, study the game and are dependable. They're a big reason the Cardinals are 2-0 and leading the NFC West. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are in a new offense in Atlanta, but they're connecting as if they've been in it for a while. Everybody knows Julio is getting the ball, and he's still making the plays, racking up 22 catches (tied for most in the NFL) for 276 yards (second-most) and two scores over two games. He's the kind of guy who is a good route runner, and he'll beat you in most categories: speed, physicality and vertical jump. He can beat the double-team, and it's just hard to take him out of games.

Ryan is seeing more success this season due to one thing: The offensive line is playing much better than it did a year ago. The line is protecting him and giving him more time to get the ball down the field. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are absolutely phenomenal together. The Steelers' offensive line is keeping Ben upright, which gives him the comfort of sitting in the pocket and taking as much time as he needs to make a play.

Antonio is so explosive, and the more time you give him, the more open he gets. In a traditional play that lasts six seconds, he's going to get open. With that extra time, he's going to separate himself even more from the defenders. Against San Francisco, when he went off for 195 yards and a score on nine catches, Antonio was open by 2 or 3 yards. That doesn't normally happen in the NFL. The separation between fast and extremely fast is very small in most battles, but Antonio gets on the field and makes really fast look slow. On top of that, he's one of the best route runners in the league. It's little wonder he leads the NFL with 328 receiving yards.

The combination of Big Ben and Brown is fun to watch, and their numbers are crazy. Ben targeted Brown 11 times in each of the first two games, and there were nine completions in each -- talk about efficiency. With the trust and chemistry, it's going to get even better. Aaron Rodgers and James Jones are two old lovers who have come back together again. James Jones was cut by two teams, including the New York Giants, this offseason, and has rejoined the Packers and reconnected with Rodgers. Green Bay lost Jordy Nelson for the year to a torn ACL in the preseason, and Jones has been the perfect player to fill the role, connecting five times with Rodgers for 80 yards and three scores. What Rodgers and Jones have been able to do makes for an impressive package, story and combination for the first two games.

Rodgers is a scrambler and Jones has the ability to come open late when Rodgers is ready to throw. That combination makes for a lot of opportunities for big plays and touchdowns. Jones was cut -- and now he's tied for second in the NFL in receiving touchdowns. That's pretty impressive. Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have impressed me. New England keeps Edelman, who has 22 catches (tied for most in the NFL) for 194 yards and two scores, in motion and finds mismatches through formations. The Patriots do a lot of routes with him, and he's a good route runner. Though he checks in at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, he doesn't shy away from contact. It feels like he can make every catch, and the yards he gets after the catch are impressive for a guy that size.

Edelman waited for his opportunity behind Wes Welker, whom he learned a lot from. Edelman has an I belong attitude, and he's shown that he does belong. He wants to be the best because he's working with the best in Tom Brady. I mean, Brady had 466 passing yards against the Bills on Sunday. This pair is a big reason why the Patriots are putting up so many points (68, the second-most in the NFL).

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.