Sunday afternoon was not only a day when the Pittsburgh Steelers continued their quest for their seventh Super Bowl ring — it was also a special day for wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster. While the Steelers were dismantling the Cleveland Browns in a 33-18 win at Heinz Field, Smith-Schuster became the youngest wide receiver to hit the 1,500-yard mark in NFL history.
That Smith-Schuster accomplished this feat at 21 years and 340 days of age is quite the performance when compared to the man he replaces in the Youth Derby. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald accomplished the feat at the age of 22 years, 74 days. It’s also noteworthy how Smith-Schuster surpassed Fitzgerald for the yardage mark — he accomplished that in 21 games compared to the 25 it took Fitzgerald.
The Week-8 game was mundane for Smith-Schuster, as he only tallied four catches for 33 yards. Due to the flow of the game, he just wasn’t featured. Four receptions push his season total to 46, tied for 14th best with teammate Antonio Brown. The 594 receiving yards is good enough to be tied for 16th overall. (Most players above him in both categories haven’t had their bye-weeks yet.)
For comparison, JuJu had 58 catches for 917 yards in his rookie campaign last season and didn’t reach the 46-catch mark until Week 15, while the 594-yard mark didn’t happen until his 12th game last season. Unless the dreaded sophomore slump kicks in, an issue which has befallen many young wideouts in the past, Smith-Schuster is on pace for 105 receptions and 1,358 yards receiving.
Can the second-year wideout from USC continue this pace with so many other mouths to feed in the Pittsburgh offense? Can he avoid injury the rest of the season? Has he already avoided the sophomore slump?
For some fun, what would it take for JuJu to surpass Jerry Rice?
JuJu averages 4.95 catches per game so he would need 292 more games to surpass. Smith-Schuster has averaged 71.95 yards per game this pace would take him 297 more games to pass the NFL’s best wideout ever.