Thanks to the nifty stat checking of Pittsburgh Steelers public relations media manager Dom Rinelli, we learned yesterday that, in their 20-12 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the Steelers became the first, and only, team in the league to have five different offensive players record at least 500 receiving yards.
The feat was achieved early in the game when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected deep with rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant on a 44-yard strike, which was his only reception of the game. That catch put him over 500 yards—528 yards, to be exact—and gave the Steelers the only such group of five players in the league.
The other four players, of course, are wide receivers Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton, tight end Heath Miller, and running back Le’Veon Bell, all of whom had already eclipsed the 500-yard mark in prior weeks.
Brown leads the league in receiving yards, recording a franchise-best 1570 yards in 15 games, which broke his own record that he set last year with 1499 yards. He should become the first receiver in franchise history to average more than 100 yards per game in a season on Sunday against the Bengals.
Behind Brown, however, nobody else is even particularly close to achieving 1000 receiving yards. In fact, Bell is second on the team with 774 receiving yards on 77 receptions—also second on the team—averaging just over 10 yards per reception, which is rare for a running back featured in the passing game.
Miller has been consistent this season in racking up 63 receptions for 720 receiving yards, coming off a nice game against the Chiefs, while Wheaton has been somewhat up and down, seeing his role reduced with Bryant’s emergence. Still, his 50 receptions for 627 yards is not a bad effort for his first full season as a contributor in a flexible role.
Interestingly, no other player on the team aside from these five players has gained even 200 yards through the air. Veteran Lance Moore comes closest with 198 yards. Justin Brown is next with 94 yards, with no receptions since Bryant was activated in the seventh game of the season.
Looking around the rest of the league, the Steelers stand a reasonable chance of being the only team to accomplish this feat. There are four other teams who have at least four players with at least 500 receiving yards—the Bears, Saints, Eagles, and Chargers—but in each case, the fifth option is at least 120 yards or more away from 500.
Realistically, the team with the best chance to duplicate the accomplishment might be the Washington Redskins, despite the fact that they only have two players currently with over 500 receiving yards. However, they do have three players with at least 436 receiving yards behind them. then again, that fifth player—Roy Helu—has not played in recent weeks. The Buffalo Bills are in a similar position as the Redskins, with wide receiver Chris Hogan the furthest away with 423 yards.