It’s small solace right now, but historical moments ought to be marked, and Antonio Brown did reach a historical moment, both in his personal career and in NFL history. It took him into overtime to achieve it, but with his 93 yards on nine receptions today against the Cleveland Browns, the ninth-year wideout reached 10,000 receiving yards in his career.
That landmark achievement was unlocked in just 116 career games. Only one man has ever reached 10,00 receiving yards in fewer games, and that was a man they call Megatron. Calvin Johnson surpassed the 10,000-yard mark in his 115th game. Brown ties Torrey Holt as the second-fastest to hit the milestone.
The Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro entered the day sitting at 9,910 receiving yards in his career. He would have eclipsed 10,000 yards last season had he not suffered a significant ankle injury in the first half of the 14th game of the year. So with his 93 yards, he now sits at 10,003.
Also of note is the fact that he caught a touchdown pass in the game, a 22-yard back-shoulder strike from Ben Roethlisberger. That was the pair’s 60th hook-up together, already the most in franchise history. He also became just the third player in team history to record 60 receiving touchdowns.
He joined Hines Ward and John Stallworth in that honor. Ward caught 85 touchdown receptions over his 14-year career from 1998 to 2011, the most in Steelers history. Stallworth, who deservedly sits in the Hall of Fame—or his bust does, to be more precise—finished his 14-year career with 63 touchdowns. Which means that Brown can tie Stallworth soon for the second-most touchdown receptions in team history.
He did just surpass him with his 65th all-purpose touchdown for the fourth-most in franchise history. He now trails only Franco Harris (with 100 touchdowns), Ward (with 86), and Jerome Bettis (with 80). He has a long road to hoe before he can reach Bettis, which will likely have to come next year. His career-high in all-purpose touchdowns came in 2014 with 14—13 receiving and one on a pun return.
The funny thing is that it didn’t at all look like the day would go this way. By the end of the first half, he had been targeted just five times, catching two passes for 14 yards. And two of the passes in his direction were intercepted.
But he and his connection with Roethlisberger seemed to regain steam in the second half, beginning with that aforementioned great touchdown on their first attempt to hook up in the third quarter. He also had a 19-yard catch-and-run to move the chains on third and four at the end of the quarter.
A nine-catch, 93-yard, one-touchdown day for Brown—especially in overtime—feels like a pedestrian affair, that that is merely a testament to how great he’s been. Historically great, as his feats today attest.