A touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Antonio Brown has been almost literally one of the most common sights in Pittsburgh Steelers history, as no duo as ever connected in more with the team. They struck for the 70th time in the regular season on Sunday with a 78-yard score against the Jacksonville Jaguars. You can watch every single one of those touchdowns here.
Not only did he become just the 46th player in NFL history with 70 touchdown receptions with that catch, the pair of them became just the seventh quarterback-receiver tandem in NFL history to reach that mark.
As you might guess, Jerry Rice is one of them—though not two of them. He and Joe Montana ‘only’ connected on 55 touchdowns during their time together, but with Steve Young, they connected 85 times between 1987 and 1999.
Though Randy Moss has the second-most receiving touchdowns in NFL history, he never played with one quarterback long enough to reach 70 with any one of them. The same can be said for Terrell Owens, the third-most prolific scoring receiver. Cris Carter, ditto.
But oh, then there was Peyton Manning. He and Marvin Harrison spent most of their careers playing together, and they produced 112 touchdowns, the most prolific pairing in NFL history. Manning is surprisingly not part of two of the seven 70-touchdown tandems, the other being with Reggie Wayne, which came up just a few touchdowns short.
Another one of the tandem is Antonio Gates with Philip Rivers, who have connected on 89 touchdowns and counting, as the future Hall of Fame tight end came out of retirement to play perhaps one more season after the Los Angeles Chargers lost their starting tight end for the year due to injury. Only two of those touchdowns have come in 2018 so far.
The only other player in NFL history to have caught every single one of his touchdowns from just one player to have more than Brown is Marques Colston, whose 72 scores have all been courtesy of Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints.
That distinction very nearly belonged to Rob Gronkowski with Tom Brady, who have connected 76 times, but he did catch one touchdown from Jimmy Garoppolo. The final quarterback-receiver duo to hit 70 scores is Dan Marino and Mark Clayton, with 79 between them.
So here it is, the official list of every single quarterback-receiver tandem in NFL history that has connected 70 or more times, the most prolific pairings to ever play the game:
|Marvin Harrison||Peyton Manning||112|
|Antonio Gates||Philip Rivers||89|
|Jerry Rice||Steve Young||85|
|Mark Clayon||Dan Marino||79|
|Rob Gronkowski||Tom Brady||76|
|Marques Colston||Drew Brees||72|
|Antonio Brown||Ben Roethlisberger||70|
In such an offense-dominated age, it’s probably not surprising that three of these pairings remain active. Realistically, Brown and Roethlisberger could move into sixth place this season with three more connections over the next six weeks, but with Gronkowski and Brady being a moving target, that may be out of reach until at least next season, where perhaps even second place is not outside of the realm of discussion with Gates and Rivers’ 89 connections, though we’ll see where they land when this season ends.