The Pittsburgh Steelers secured their second win of the week, after going over 40 days without a victory, and a lot of that had to do with a dominant downfield performance from veteran wide receiver Antonio Brown, who for the first time in his impressive career caught three touchdowns in one game—and all three of them were of an explosive persuasion.
The last time that a Steelers wide receiver did that was actually not all that long ago. Jerricho Cotchery, who was with the team from 2011 to 2013, posted a career-high 10 touchdowns for Pittsburgh in 2013, and three of those touchdowns came in one game against the Patriots.
The only other wide receiver for Pittsburgh to do that since the turn of the century was Hines Ward, who caught three touchdowns in Atlanta—he is a Georgia native, after all—in 2006. In case you were wondering, Roy Jefferson is the only Steelers receiver to catch four touchdowns in a game, in 1968—also in Atlanta. This information courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
The three-touchdown day did help Brown make some more Steelers history, as it brought his receiving touchdown total on the season up to 10. It was the third-consecutive season with at least 10 receiving touchdowns, which establishes a new Steelers record for the most consecutive seasons with double-digit receiving touchdowns.
Including Brown’s 2016 season, which still has five games to go, there have been only 15 seasons in team history in which a receiver caught at least 10 touchdown passes. Brown himself now has three of them, which also ties Ward for the most total seasons with at least 10 touchdown receptions. Ward had three such seasons in his career as well, including in back-to-back seasons in 2002 and 2003, in addition to the 2005 season. But he had only four touchdowns in 2004, in Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie year.
As of now, Brown now leads the league not only in receptions, with 82—the second-place receiver is sitting at 74 receptions—he also has taken hold of the lead for receiving touchdowns, the first player in the league to reach double digits.
On the year, he is just two yards shy of yet another 1000-yard receiving season, which would be the fourth consecutive, and the fifth overall, in his seventh season. He does have nine rushing yards, and so is over the 1000 yards from scrimmage mark.
Through 11 games played, Brown is now “only” on pace for 1452 yards, as well as 119 receptions, but he is on pace set a new career-high in receiving touchdowns, looking at 14 or 15 by the end of the year. He scored 13 receiving touchdowns in 2014. And that is, of course, the most important stat of all.