Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown accomplished several feats in Sunday’s game, which makes it difficult to contain them all in one article, or at least to give them their just due. The easiest one to predict, however, was that he would surpass a record held by Wes Welker for the most receptions in a six-season span.
He entered the game against the New Orleans Saints, in fact, already tied with Welker for the record. He needed five against the New England Patriots last week and, for the first time in the entire season, he only got four.
So Brown needed just one reception in order to set a new high mark. He got 14 instead, and he still has one more game to add on to his accomplishment and make it all the more difficult for anybody to break in the future—though the Saints’ Michael Thomas is doing a nice job of putting the pressure on.
Following Sunday’s game, the Steelers’ All-Pro has now caught 686 passes dating back to the start of the 2013 season, a year in which he caught 110 passes. He would surpass that total in each of the next two seasons, and has a chance to do so again in 2018 if he can haul in seven or more on Sunday. He has gotten seven or more five times in the first 15 games this year, and 58 in his career.
From 2007 through the 2012 season, Welker recorded 672 receptions while playing for the Patriots and (mostly) Tom Brady. He had at least 110 receptions in five of those six seasons, and over 120 receptions in two. In comparison, Brown has just three 110-catch seasons, though could have another with six or more in the finale.
Welker only recorded 73 receptions in the year following his streak, giving him 745 receptions over a seven-year span. With his 66 receptions in 2012, Brown already has 752 receptions over a seven-year span.
In other words, to the best of my knowledge, Brown has already set the NFL record for the most receptions in a seven-season span, based on some preliminary research via Pro Football Reference, and every reception that he adds in the finale, and any north of 66 that he has in 2019, will only pad his record.
The only players I’ve been able to find who have had even 700 receptions in any seven-season span are Brown, Welker, Marvin Harrison, and Jerry Rice. I’ve already mentioned Welker’s best. Harrison recorded 731 receptions from 1999 to 2005. And Rice had 704 receptions from 1990 to 1996.
In one game, Brown not only set the record for the most receptions in a six-season game, but for a seven-season span as well.