The Pittsburgh Steelers may not have left New Orleans with a victory, but they did leave town with new records for their wide receivers. On a day when Antonio Brown recorded 14 receptions for 185-yards and JuJu Smith-Schuster finished with 11 catches for 115-yards, both did enough to push their receptions total over 100 for the season, only the sixth time that feat has been achieved in NFL history.
#Steelers— Dom Rinelli (@drinelli) December 24, 2018
Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster each have at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in 2018.
They join the 1995 Lions, 2000 Broncos, 2005 Cardinals, 2009 Colts & 2014 Broncos as the only receiving duos in #NFL history with 100 catches AND 1,000 yards each.
Brown also becomes the first player in league history to record six consecutive seasons with at least 100 catches and his latest efforts against the Saints brings his totals to 104 receptions for 1,297-yards and 15 touchdowns in 2018. Smith Schuster has 106 receptions for 1,389-yards and six touchdowns so far this year and enters the history books as the youngest player to ever break 100 receptions in a single season.
Per @NFL JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is 22 years and 31 days old, has 106 catches this season and surpassed LARRY FITZGERALD (22 years, 123 days) as the youngest player to reach 100 receptions in a single season in NFL history #WTAE— Andrew Stockey (@astockeyWTAE) December 24, 2018
However, both players would need to have huge games against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday if they want to have any chance of catching the No.1 receiving duo on the all-time list. The 1995 Detroit Lions saw Brett Perriman finish the year with 108 receptions for 1,488-yards, while Herman Moore recorded 123 receptions and 1,686-yards.
Smith-Schuster is unlikely to be celebrating this new milestone given the way the game ended for him, but there can be little question he is in the running for team MVP this season. While the young wideout has received support from teammates and other players around the league in the wake of his fumble, not everyone has been as encouraging, even after he took to social media to apologize for his mistake on Monday.
That shit wasn’t on u!!! Keep your head up young KING! It hurts cause u CARE!! I’m rocking with u 4EVER!! https://t.co/AHnCiPqR7j— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) December 24, 2018
@TeamJuJu head High killa! These moments make u... never break u! “The ultimate measures of a man is not where he stands at moments of comfort n convience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy..”— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) December 24, 2018
For every kind word, there were plenty who were less than understanding, with local “radio personality” Mark Madden seizing on the opportunity to berate a player he has been unfairly critical of all year.
Everybody makes mistakes. But JuJu's mistake today would be easier for me to accept if he approached work like work, instead of super wonderful crazy fun time. B/c right now, nobody's laughing or dancing.— Mark Madden (@MarkMaddenX) December 24, 2018
In reality, if everyone on the roster gave a fraction of the effort Smith-Schuster gives each week or were any where near as productive, Pittsburgh would already be in the playoffs.