Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) runs for a touchdown behind Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant (21) during the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Garcon entrenches himself among the elite

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Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon didn’t play his best game the first time the Redskins faced the rival Dallas Cowboys this year. Sure, he finished with a respectable six receptions for 69 yards, but he was also targeted a whopping 15 times in that game. Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr thoroughly beat him in that one-on-one matchup, and Carr actually won our Player of the Week award for Week 6 due to that performance, which was Carr’s best of the year.

Garcon definitely bounced back the second time the Redskins and Cowboys squared off, and his incredible, record-setting performance on Sunday nearly put the Redskins over the top in what would have been a monumental upset over the Cowboys. Instead, the Redskins lost 24-23 thanks to some clutch play by tough-as-nails QB Tony Romo, but I don’t think anyone will be forgetting Garcon’s performance any time soon.

He finished with a nasty 11 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown, and he made good on the 18 targets that Kirk Cousins sent his way. The Cowboys simply couldn’t stop him, and Garcon just ran rampant over the Cowboys defense. He moved the chains to perfection, and Garcon has the ability to both beat defenses deep and nickel-and-dime them.

Those 11 receptions gave Garcon a total of 107 on the season, which broke the Washington Redskins franchise record, previously held by Art Monk. It’s a monstrous feat, and there’s no doubt that Garcon has earned ever single one of those receptions this season. In fact, those 107 receptions are quietly the most in the NFL, as he has four more receptions than Andre Johnson and six more than Antonio Brown (these three receivers are the only ones with 100 right now, but it looks like they will be joined by three more players).

Garcon is one of the league’s most talented wide receivers, and he is definitely an elite player. He has game-breaking speed, does a terrific job of getting open, and his route-running makes him a reliable receiver. He may commit frustrating drops, but he is actually a reliable player. Of the top ten leaders in receptions this season, Garcon’s 62.2% catch rate is only bested by four others, and the quarterback play hasn’t been that good this season for the Redskins.

What really stands out about Pierre Garcon is just how much the Washington Redskins rely on him, because rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who has been out for a few weeks due to a concussion and was wisely placed on the injured reserve last week, was their only other legitimate option in the passing game. The Redskins don’t really have a good receiver other than Garcon, which means he is having to get open and be a reliable target when constantly facing double-coverage; it’s a testament to just how good he is.

With 7.5 yards per target, the league-lead in receptions, and the Redskins franchise record in receptions in a single season, there is little doubt that Garcon has had an extraordinary year. There’s also little doubt that he’s an extraordinary player, and we can only hope that he continues to be healthy as he was this year. Because if he’s healthy, Garcon will continue to put up elite numbers, and he has all the top-level physical tools that you look for in a true No. 1 wideout.

Mount Union wins again.

Fast fact: Pierre Garcon has never caught less than five passes in a game this season, and he’s only had three games with less than 50 receiving yards. Overall, Garcon is averaging 7.1 receptions and 86 receiving yards per game.

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Tags: Notes And Analysis Pierre Garcon Washington Redskins

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