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Jackson, Martin Could Make Hawaii an Annual Trip

Posted Jan 22, 2013

WR Vincent Jackson and RB Doug Martin put themselves in elite company with their combined performances in 2012, and the history of such productive duos is promising for the Buccaneers


Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin are in Hawaii for the 2013 Pro Bowl, and as was mentioned on Sunday in the Captain's Blog, that's the first WR-RB pair to play in an all-star game together in franchise history.  Given that both Jackson and Martin put up the second-best single-season totals in team annals in receiving yardage and yards from scrimmage, respectively, it's safe to say they formed the most prolific duo ever for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 

In fact, those two joined some pretty elite company in terms of the NFL as a whole in 2012.  Martin, who finished with 1,926 combined rushing and receiving yards, posted just the 84th 1,900-yard campaign by a running back in league history.  Of those 84 seasons, 32 of them combined with a 1,000-yard receiver on the same team, including the Bucs' 2012 pair.  (There were actually 41 such combinations, because some teams – e.g., the Faulk-Bruce-Holt St. Louis Rams – had two 1,000-yard receivers in the same campaign.)

 

That's a nice list, and it puts Jackson and Martin in company with such memorable duos as Edgerrin James-James Harrison (or Reggie Wayne); Thurman Thomas-Andre Reed; Emmitt Smith-Michael Irvin; Barry Sanders-Herman Moore; and Roger Craig-Jerry Rice.  It gets quite a bit more exclusive, however, when one notes that Jackson actually just missed making it to 1,400 yards, finishing at 1,384 in his first season as a Buccaneer.

 

So as not to be too arbitrary, let's look at pairs that featured a 1,900-yards-from-scrimmage back and a 1,200-receiving-yards wideout, rather than setting the limit at 1,300.  Martin and Jackson are just the 18th such combination in league history.  In chronological order, they are:

 

Year, Team

RB

WR

1981 Falcons

William Andrews (2,036)

Alfred Jenkins (1,358)

1988 49ers

Roger Craig (2,036)

Jerry Rice (1,306)

1989 Bills

Thurman Thomas (1,913)

Andre Reed (1,312)

1992 Cowboys

Emmitt Smith (2,048)

Michael Irvin (1,396)

1993 Cowboys

Emmitt Smith (1,900)

Michael Irvin (1,330)

1995 Cowboys

Emmitt Smith (2,148)

Michael Irvin (1,686)

1997 Lions

Barry Sanders (2,358)

Herman Moore (1,293)

1998 Broncos

Terrell Davis (2,225)

Rod Smith (1,222)

1999 Colts

Edgerrin James (2,139)

Marvin Harrison (1,663)

2000 Colts

Edgerrin James (2,303)

Marvin Harrison (1,413)

2000 Rams

Marshall Faulk (2,189)

Torry Holt (1,635)

2000 Rams

Marshall Faulk (2,189)

Isaac Bruce (1,471)

2001 Rams

Marshall Faulk (2,147)

Torry Holt (1,363)

2002 Giants

Tiki Barber (1,984)

Amani Toomer (1,343)

2004 Colts

Edgerrin James (2,031)

Reggie Wayne (1,210)

2005 Giants

Tiki Barber (2,390)

Plaxico Burress (1,214)

2010 Texans

Arian Foster (2,220)

Andre Johnson (1,216)

2012 Buccaneers

Doug Martin (1,926)

Vincent Jackson (1,384)

 

Of course, Buccaneer fans want to know if their new RB-WR duo can duplicate or even improve upon their 2012 numbers.  After all, one sees quite a few repeated names in the chart above.

 

Certainly, the track record for 1,900-1,200 RB-WR combos is strong.  If one takes the 17 pairs that preceded the Buccaneers, all of whom have had a chance to follow up on those combined accomplishments, and look at their respective following seasons, the numbers are encouraging.  (To avoid confusing the numbers, we're going to remove the 1982 Falcons from the study because a players' strike reduced the season to just nine games and kept down individual numbers across the board.)

 

The running backs in the remaining 16 follow-up seasons averaged a whopping 1,674 yards from scrimmage.  That's especially impressive given that the totals were dragged down by injury-plagued campaigns for James in 2001 (662 yards in six games) and Davis in 1999 (237 yards in four games).  If one removes those two games, then also skims off the top two seasons on the list (James' 2,303 in 2000 and Faulk's 2,147 in 2001), the average for the follow-up season jumps to 1,790.

 

The receivers come out looking pretty good, too, averaging 1,142 receiving yards in the 16 follow-up seasons on the list.  The only drastically shortened season on that list was Andre Johnson's 2011 campaign (492 yards in seven games), but Irvin did miss five games in 1996 (962).  If we once again throw out those two and the top two totals (Harrison's 1,524 in 2001 and Rice's 1,483 in 1989), the average remains almost exactly the same, at 1,150.

 

The best thing part of this list for the Buccaneers: Martin is one of only two rookies on it, joining the Colts' James in 1999.  Martin just turned 24 and Jackson 30 on back-to-back days earlier this month.  In that regard, they are very much like the James-Harrison combo – James was 22, Harrison 28 going into the 2000 season that would prove to be their best.  Smith and Irvin were 25 and 28, respectively, going into their big 1994 campaign.  Foster and Johnson were 25 and 30, respectively, heading into 2011.

 

History would seem to indicate that there are more good seasons ahead for the Buccaneers' combination of Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson.  And maybe a few more Pro Bowl trips, as well.

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