Antonio Brown is on pace to break franchise's career receptions, yards records

Joe Sargent

It's already been a banner season for Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. By the end of it, it may be one of the best overall individual seasons in franchise history.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is establishing himself as one of the best route-runners in the NFL, and one of the most dangerous receivers after the catch.

The scary part is, he may only be getting better.

Brown's sparkling seven-catch, 147 yards and two touchdowns performance Sunday against Detroit showed he belonged in the conversation among the league's best at the position. It also showed he's on the edge of Steelers' immortality.

It gave him 74 catches on this season, a career-high, and 954 yards, which puts him on pace to break Yancey Thigpen's 16-year-old team record of 1,398 yards. Hines Ward's 11-year-old receptions record of 112 is in jeopardy as well. If Brown maintains his current pace, he'll finish the year with 118 receptions for 1,526 yards.

Brown's return game isn't too shabby either. While it's understandable why the team wants to keep him fresh for his role as 30 percent of the team's offense, his 13.1 yard per punt return average is the fourth-highest in the NFL, and the highest among players without a touchdown return. If he maintains that pace, it will be another career high mark for him.

All told, he could crack the top five in franchise history in all-purpose yards - receptions yards, punt returns and kickoff returns. He's on pace to finish with 1,944 all-purpose yards which would put him third all time, behind Ernie Mills' 2,024 in 1995 and Brown's own franchise record of 2,211 in 2011.

He may fall off the pace of all of those categories Sunday, as the Steelers take on the Cleveland Browns (4-6), one of the better defensive teams in the NFL. He'll likely draw Joe Haden, one of the most talented cornerbacks in the NFL. Teams are averaging 207.5 passing yards against them this season, fourth-best in the NFL.

In four career games against Cleveland, Brown has 17 catches, 315 yards and two touchdowns.

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