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The Curious Case of Michael Floyd: Niners vs. Cardinals Plays of the Game

What were those sensational catches by Floyd, and can we expect more from him the rest of the season? Some surprising statistics show us the truth.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Curious Case of Michael Floyd.

This season Floyd has gone from a man who was proclaiming himself as an elite wide receiver, to a receiver who couldn't make a reception with all his drops, to perhaps the most impactful player in Arizona's 23-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

First off, Floyd made this ridiculous catch in the first quarter:

Arians loves throwing deep on his own goal line to get Arizona out of dangerous territory off of play action.  On this play, we see Floyd slip past every defender and, despite Palmer overthrowing Floyd, he extends his body and makes the "Circus catch" that Cardinals fans have been used to seeing Floyd make over the past three years.

He might have scored if Palmer puts the throw right on him.  As such, while it was the Niners, and the Cardinals ran the football about as effectively as a team starting Trent Richardson at running back, they seemed to find a vertical passing game.

Larry Fitzgerald had a sensational catch as well, but it was this throw from Palmer to Floyd that pushed the Cardinals into game-winning territory late in the game.

Wow.  Some will question if Floyd controlled the ball all the way down but that's the best reception this side of Odell Beckham Jr.

So why hasn't Floyd been making these catches all season?  Can we expect them to continue?

History would tell us yes...but with a caveat.

In 2015, Floyd exceeded 50 yards in only 8 games that season, and had only one multi-TD game during the whole year.  Far more telling, Floyd had 6 games last year in which he had one catch or less.

Six whole games!

For comparison, (in case you think that AZ's diverse weapons were a factor) for John Brown last year, outside of the Browns and Seahawks games (in which he was active but did not play) Brown didn't have a game in which he had under three catches.  He would average about 4.4 catches per game for the year.

Think about that for a moment.

Michael Floyd's breakdown over the last two years so far show that he has 2 or less catches in 8 of the 22 games he has played in so far over the last two years.

That means that over 1/3 of the games he plays, Floyd has barely any impact on the games he plays in.  And even more stunning, in about 30% of his games, Floyd has been held to ONE catch or less.

That's not great, to say the least.  And it's not the sign of a good receiver, much less a good #2 receiver opinion many have of Floyd.

It's like he's the Blake Bortles of Wide Receivers.  Makes flashy, big plays but inconsistent and doesn't deliver to a level that's required for both his high draft selection, nor the amount of money he wants to be paid.

Floyd, ultimately, is nothing more than a role player in Bruce Arians' offense as a vertical threat to catch 50-50 balls.  He's probably not the #2 receiver on the team if John Brown is healthy and his inconsistencies have been maddening.  While he did have a small swing of games in '15 where he started taking over (7, 5, 5, 6 catches) it appears as though he just got hot for a spurt and then it dropped again.

So all in all, I would expect that Floyd sees more time and catches in the offense, but not as much as fans think.  If anything, it's more likely that J.J. Nelson's fumbling problem means more Floyd snaps rather than Floyd's play itself.

Could he return next year?

At this point, it'd depend on his market.  If he doesn't get what he's looking for, a return to Arizona is possible with more cap space in the upcoming '17 season.  But I wouldn't expect it.

Players who have all of Floyd's talent but are maddeningly inconsistent almost always find a buyer.  And almost always disappoint.

Some better examples are Mike Wallace with the Dolphins, or from a quarterback perspective, Brock Osweiler for the Texans.  But when push comes to shove, the best players do one thing that the inconsistent players do not:

They produce.

We've seen that production obviously from Fitzgerald year-in-and-year-out, and even from John Brown thus far in his career.  We haven't seen it from Floyd and I doubt we will ever see his consistency improve while he plays his likely last set of games in Cardinal red.

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