Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected on 23 passes on Sunday, which gives him 4187 completed passes in his 15-year NFL career. Wide receiver Antonio Brown caught nine of those passes on Sunday, a small chunk of the 743 receptions that he now has entering his ninth season in the NFL.
Following Sunday’s game, those two career-long trajectories have now intertwined on 703 separate occasions, meaning that Roethlisberger has completed 703 passes that Brown has caught over the span of the past eight-plus seasons.
According to Dom Rinelli, the quarterback-wide receiver connection is now just the fifth duo in NFL history to reach 700 receptions together, and there is really only one pair in front of them the stands head and shoulders above the rest. It is possible—likely, even—that they will reach the second spot on the list before the 2018 regular season is over.
Most Pass-Receptions by a QB-WR Duo: NFL History
Peyton Manning-Marvin Harrison 953
Peyton Manning-Reggie Wayne 779
Philip Rivers-Antonio Gates 734
Drew Brees-Marques Colston 706
Ben Roethlisberger-Antonio Brown 703
— Dom Rinelli (@drinelli) September 10, 2018
The long-term goal is eventually to reach the connection that Peyton Manning shared with Marvin Harrison. Over a long period, the two Hall of Famers—or soon to be—connected on an astonishing 953 passes. It is at this point that I would like to point out that there have only been 16 players in NFL history to catch that many passes in their career, let alone from one quarterback.
Manning also owns the second spot on the list with Reggie Wayne, those two connecting 779 times over the years. Roethlisberger and Brown currently stand only 76 receptions away from that mark, and considering that Brown has caught at least 100 passes in the past five years, there is a very good chance he adds at least that many from Roethlisberger over the next 15 games.
The most immediate target would be Drew Brees and Marques Colston, who shared 706 connections. It is probable that the Steelers’ duo will overtake them on Sunday in their home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, needing only three to tie and four to surpass.
Slightly more down the road—and actually still counting—is Philip Rivers and his tight end, Antonio Gates, who would be retired right now had right end Hunter Henry not gotten injured. But Gates came out of retirement for the Chargers. He caught two passes on Sunday, and the pair now share 734 connections.
Roethlisberger and Brown still have a lot of work to do on the scoring front, however. They connected for their 60th score on Sunday, a number that ranks only tied for 14th all-time. A realistic though lofty target would be to ascend into the top 10, perhaps as far as eighth, owned by Jim Kelly and Andre Reed connecting on 71 touchdowns.