Matt Ryan and Julio Jones may be the two best players in Atlanta Falcons history. But they don’t just hold a special place in the Atlanta record books.
Ryan and Jones were two of the best players at their positions in the entire league during their era. Together, they were even more special.
So, fittingly, Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon included the Ryan-Jones connection on his list of the top NFL duos of the past 10 years.
The Ryan-Jones duo with the Falcons landed at No. 7 on the list.
“Even without the title, they had a prolific run together in 10 years with the Falcons,” Kenyon wrote. “In our criteria, eight of the seasons apply. The bookends aren’t so great, but those six in the middle are awfully impressive.
“Jones finished each season with at least 1,394 receiving yards, making the Pro Bowl six times and securing AP All-Pro recognition in five years.
“Ryan enjoyed a career-best campaign in 2016, winning MVP and Offensive Player of the Year while helping the Falcons win the NFC. He also headed to the Pro Bowl in 2014.”
The Ryan-Jones connection was the only duo from the NFC South that made Kenyon’s list. Somewhat surprisingly, it was also just one of two quarterback-wide receiver duos on the list.
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams with the Green Bay Packers was the only other quarterback-wideout duo at No. 3.
The top two NFL duos of the past 10 years according to Kenyon were both quarterback-tight end connections. Kenyon ranked Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski at No. 1 then Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce at No. 2.
Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown were the other offensive duo on Kenyon’s list. The other two pairings were defensive duos — T.J. Watt-Cameron Heyward and Kam Chancellor-Earl Thomas.
Jones dominated the league with Ryan as his quarterback from 2014-19. During that stretch, he led the NFL in receiving twice (2015 and 2018) and receiving yards per game three times (2015, 2016 and 2018).
As Kenyon noted, Ryan won NFL MVP in 2016. He threw for 4,944 yards with 38 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions.
Jones led the way with 83 receptions and 1,409 yards that season. But the Falcons had three pass catchers with at least 50 receptions and five players with more than 400 receiving yards.
As Falcons fans know, it unfortunately didn’t end with a Super Bowl title. But despite that, Ryan and Jones still deserve the national love they received from Kenyon.