Inside Slant: On 200-yard receiving games

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
10:00
AM ET
Two players posted 200-yard receiving games on the same day Sunday -- FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NFL HISTORY -- and I, for one, hardly flinched. Neither Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns nor Alshon Jeffery of the Chicago Bears cracked the coveted Studs and Duds post, much to the chagrin of at least three fans who looked past the fact that neither effort produced a victory for the respective teams.

Jeffery
Gordon
Gordon
And for good reason. The 200-yard receiving game is approaching the pedestrian status of a 100-yard rushing performance. It's a notable achievement, to be sure, but in this passing era it's no longer a moment of rewritten history.

Consider that in the 52 seasons from 1960 to 2011, NFL and AFL players produced 130 games of at least 200 receiving yards, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. That average of 2.5 per season has tripled in 2012 and 2013, and of course we're not done. There were eight last season and there have been seven in 2013, including the third-ever 300-yard receiving game since 1960.

Gordon and Jeffery, both promising second-year players, have each recorded a pair of 200-yard receiving games this season. Only two other receivers had previously accomplished that during the Super Bowl era. (Calvin Johnson and Don Maynard were the others.) Gordon, in fact, did it in consecutive weeks, setting an NFL record with 498 receiving yards in back-to-back games.

Jeffery, meanwhile, now owns the two most productive receiving games in the 94-season history of the Bears/Decatur Staleys.

Is Jeffery the best receiver in Bears history? Does Gordon deserve to be mentioned among the most productive receivers in NFL history? Of course not, in either case, at least not yet.

To put this era in perspective, these two receivers have each eclipsed the 200-yard barrier twice -- and neither leads the league in receiving yards this season. That honor belongs to Johnson, largely on the strength of his 329-yard game in Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys. Maybe 300 is the new 200 in NFL lore.

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