Not a lot of people are very receptive to talk about records and milestones and things of that nature in the aftermath of a loss. Believe me, I know that quite well from first-hand experience writing about such milestones after a Pittsburgh Steelers loss, only to be met with comments about how nobody cares. Well, too bad.
Earlier today, second-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, just days after turning 22 years old, topped 1000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. He entered the game sitting on 866 receiving yards before exploding with a big game highlighted by a 97-yard touchdown pass, finishing with a whopping 13 receptions for 189 yards and the score.
He now has 81 receptions for 1055 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the first 11 games of the 2018 regular season for the Steelers, leading the team in receptions and receiving yards over Antonio Brown.
Smith-Schuster became the first Steelers player to record 1000 receiving yards at the age of 22 or younger. Brown’s first 1000-yard season also came in his second year, but he was 23. Louis Lipps back in 1985 also recorded a 1000-yard season at that age.
According to Pro Football Reference, he is only the 28th player to accomplish this at 22, and only a few days after his birthday, I’m going to assume he was among the youngest. Four players, among them Randy Moss and Mike Evans, were able to do it at 21.
Smith-Schuster is the first Steelers player other than Brown to record 1000 receiving yards since Mike Wallace in 2011. Wallace had back-to-back 1000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011. Since 2000, there have only been 11 1000-yard seasons for the team by players other than Brown prior to today.
Six of those were from Hines Ward, and Plaxico Burress and Wallace each had two more. Santonio Holmes had the other. Now Smith-Schuster joins that group.
It’s likely that by the end of the season, the Steelers will also have just their fourth pairing of 1000-yard receivers in team history, which was most recently accomplished by Brown and Wallace in 2011. Holmes and Ward did it together in 2009, and Ward and Burress managed it back in 2001.
Today’s game was Smith-Schuster’s sixth 100-yard game of the season, which is tied for the third-most in the NFL behind Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons and Adam Thielen of the Minnesota Vikings, both of whom entered the day with eight such games.
He now has nine 100-yard games in 25 games played to date, including three during his rookie season, which featured a career-high 193 yards against the Detroit Lions. His 189 today was the second most of his career, and, no surprise, both of them featured a 97-yard touchdown.