While the 2014 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense was certainly productive at moving the football, the 2015 version is expected to be even better. In fact, if things go as planned and the key pieces stay healthy, the team could have two wide receivers exceed 1,300 or more receiving yards in 2015.
The last time that a Steelers offense had two players both top 1,300 yards receiving in a single season was in 2002 when Hines Ward registered 1,329 yards and Plaxico Burress had 1,325. That season, quarterbacks Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart combined to complete 63.2% of their passes while also yielding a whopping 22 interceptions.
What’s interesting about that 2002 season is that Ward and Burress both combined to be on the receiving end of 40 explosive plays of 20 yards or more.
If the Steelers are going to have two receivers both crack the 1,300 yard receiving mark in 2015, logic dictates that it will be Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.
The reasoning for Brown is pretty straight forward being as he has easily exceeded that mark in each of his last two seasons. As far as Bryant goes, his big-play ability combined with the fact that he’ll be seeing increased playing time at the “Z” position in his second season, gives him a solid shot at hitting the 1,300 yard mark in 2015.
If Bryant can average 17 yards a catch in 2015, he’ll need 77 grabs to hit the 1,300 yard mark. Burress, if you remember, had 78 catches in 2002.
If, however, the Steelers aren’t able to have two players each hit the 1,300 yard mark in 2015, their offense could quite possibly have three receivers each record more than 1,000 yards receiving and that’s a pretty rare feat unto itself.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, only five teams have had three players each finish with 1,000 yards or more receiving in a single season. The most recent of which was the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 with Larry Fitzgerald (1,431 yards), Anquan Boldin (1,038) and Steve Breaston (1,006). In case you forgot, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley held that same title with the Cardinals that season.
None of those three wide receivers reached the 100 catch mark that season, however, so in order for Brown, Bryant and Markus Wheaton to all hit 1,000 yards receiving in 2015, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will certainly need to spread the ball around to three even more than he already does currently.