Going into Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, JuJu Smith-Schuster needed 79 yards in order to reach the 2,500-yard milestone. Additionally, if he were able to surpass the mark in either Week 2 or Week 3 of 2019, Smith-Schuster would become the youngest player in NFL history to join the club. With 2:19 remaining in the third quarter, Smith-Schuster caught a 7 yard pass for Mason Rudolph on second and five to bring his career receiving yards to 2,505.
With 84 yards receving today, #Steelers JuJu Smith-Schuster. at 22 years and 297 days old, he has 2,505 career receiving yards, surpassing Hall of Famer Rany Moss as the youngest player to reach 2,500 career receiving yards in NFL history #wtae pic.twitter.com/cXIZcreyuV— Andrew Stockey (@astockeyWTAE) September 16, 2019
Reaching 2,500 receiving yards is not uncommon in today’s NFL. In fact, there were 70 active NFL players going into Week 2 who have reached this particular total. So while the milestone is still impressive, the true accomplishment is reaching the mark at such a young age. In fact, only Smith-Schuster and Randy Moss have been able to hot 2,500 receiving yards before their 23rd birthday. According to NFL.com‘s Gil Brandt, The top five youngest players to reach this milestone is quite an impressive list.
JuJu Smith-Schuster needs 79 receiving yards on Sunday vs. Seattle to surpass Randy Moss as the youngest player in NFL history to reach 2,500:— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 13, 2019
Randy Moss 22 years, 310 days
Larry Fitzgerald 23-31
Mike Evans 23-35
Odell Beckham 23-39
JuJu Smith-Schuster 22-297*
*on Sunday pic.twitter.com/7q9gOP9Env
For the 2019 season, JuJu Smith-Schuster has 162 yards on 11 receptions. While JuJu has yet to reach the end zone or eclipse 100 receiving yards in a game for 2019, he is on pace to surpass 1,200 receiving yards for the season. In 2018, Smith-Schuster had tallied 240 yards on 18 receptions through Week 2. Although his yards are less, his yards per reception are 14.7 yards in 2019 compared to 13.3 yards in 2018.
While JuJu Smith-Schuster has been making the most of his targets as the Steelers’ number one receiver in 2019, the amount of passes thrown in his direction has taken a hit. In fact, Smith Schuster’s eight targets per game in 2019 is the first two-game stretch where he was not targeted double digit times in either game since Week 8 and 9 of 2018. When passes have come JuJu’s way, he has averaged 10.1 yards per target in 2019, his best two-game stretch since Weeks 10 and 11 of last season.
If Smith-Schuster is going to continue to set records in the NFL, his production with the Steelers is going to have to climb back towards his 2018 totals. The emergence of a number two receiver in Pittsburgh would greatly help take the pressure off of JuJu in order to open up the passing game in general. With the 0-2 hole the Steelers have dug themselves to start the season, improved numbers from all the receivers would help towards Smith-Schuster’s future milestones and the team’s potential win-loss record for 2019.