Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant entered today’s game with 48 career receptions for 989 yards, holding a career 20.6 yards per catch average. On the precipice of two career landmarks, it was likely that both would be reached in the game.
Bryant hit both 50 receptions and 1000 yards for his career in the first half, and in doing so reached 1000 yards with the third-fewest receptions among all active players in the NFL. In addition to an 11-yard touchdown run on an end around, he also caught three passes for 18 yards.
The only two players currently active to reach 1000 yards with fewer receptions are Miles Austin and former Steeler Mike Wallace, both of whom hit the milestone on their 50th career catches. Bryant hit the plateau on his nine-yard reception on Pittsburgh’s go-ahead touchdown drive at the end of the first half.
For his career, the second-year receiver now has 51 receptions for 1007 yards, to go along with 13 receiving touchdowns, plus a rushing touchdown, halfway through the 16th game of his career—not a bad prorated season total.
Of course, Bryant has shown his at times maddening inconsistency this game as well, including a big drop downfield and another chance that he could not secure before allowing the defender to come in and prevent the catch.
The former fourth-round pick has been a rollercoaster for the Steelers over the past two years, starting the first six games of his career on the bench, but then coming up with five touchdown passes in his first three games.
As a rookie, the 6’4” speedster accumulated 549 yards on just 26 receptions with eight touchdowns. So far through five and a half games this year, he has 51 receptions for 458 yards and six total touchdowns.
But he almost missed the first five games of this season, the first four due to a suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. He missed the team’s fifth game due to a knee injury.
Since returning to the field, Bryant has been up and down, having an excellent debut with 137 yards on six receptions and two touchdowns, but his hands have been suspect a number of times. He also fumbled away a ball after a long reception.
The young man achieved a significant landmark in the first half by reaching 1000 career receiving yards in just 51 receptions—and in his first 16 games. His touchdown run has helped put the Steelers on top. Let’s see what awaits in the second.