Although it seems that many are intent not to care, now that the regular season is completed and everything has remained status quo, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the remarkable run that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has managed to achieve over the span of a full two seasons now.
Of course, I speak of his now 32-game streak in which he has caught at least five receptions while gaining at least 50 receiving yards. It’s an obscure and insignificant statistic, in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an achievement that I feel best personifies Brown’s remarkable work ethic, and how that has translated onto the field.
Nobody in the history of the league has been able to assemble such a streak, and Brown has only improved upon it further this season. Yes, there was one game during this season in which the streak was artificially kept alive when Ben Roethlisberger chose to throw him a pass when the Steelers could have simply run out the clock, but that just goes to show how much the team as a whole values the streak for their star wide receiver.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Brown has only been the offense’s featured receiver and clear primary target over the span of the last two seasons, when the streak began. Before then, it was Mike Wallace who was the most prominent receiver, even if Brown received a high volume of passes.
In 2014, Brown improved on virtually every facet of his game from the previous year, during which he had already earned All-Pro accolades. In the course of recording the best season a Steelers’ wide receiver has ever had, he broke the three primary franchise receiving records for a season, including one of his own.
That one, which he broke last season, was for receiving yardage. He blew past the previous record and finished the season with 1499 a year ago. This season, he put it further out of reach, becoming the first Steelers receiver to average over 100 yards per game, finishing with 1698 receiving yards.
He also broke two records previously held by his original mentor entering the league, Hines Ward. Ward held the record for most receptions and most touchdown receptions in a season. Brown blew past the reception mark, besting it by 17 and finishing with 129 on the year, the second-most of all time. In the season finale, late in the game, he recorded his 13th touchdown reception, breaking that tie.
That was his seventh reception of the game, giving him 11 straight games of recording at least seven receptions, which is in itself a record. He also recorded at least 74 receiving yards in every game of the year, while recording multiple touchdowns on four occasions, and at least one touchdown in nine games. Were it not for one shaky game in which he lost two fumbles, there would be nary a blemish on his season.