Julio Jones, Antonio Brown had two of the top receiving seasons ever

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Prior to the 2015 NFL season, only one player in NFL history had caught more than 130 passes in a season, and only two players in NFL history had more than 1,800 receiving yards in a season. Now there have been three players with more than 130 catches in a season, and four players with more than 1,800 receiving yards.

Falcons receiver Julio Jones and Steelers Antonio Brown had two of the greatest receiving seasons in NFL history in 2015.

Jones and Brown finished the season tied for the NFL lead with 136 catches, second all time behind Marvin Harrison’s NFL record of 143 in 2002. Jones led the league in receiving yards with 1,871 and Brown was right behind him at 1,834. That puts Jones at No. 2 all time, behind Calvin Johnson’s NFL record of 1,964 in 2012, and Brown at No. 4 all time, behind Jerry Rice’s NFL record of 1,848 in 1995.

As NFL passing offenses grow more sophisticated and rules change to protect quarterbacks and receivers, the numbers we expect to see from wide receivers are changing. There was a time when 100 catches and 1,500 yards were incredible receiving standards. Now Jones and Brown make those numbers look ordinary.

55 responses to “Julio Jones, Antonio Brown had two of the top receiving seasons ever

  1. Great seasons indeed. However, we need to pay more attention to yards/rec rather than just receptions. Anyone can catch 100 screen passes a year, but great receivers will turn it into much more. Way too much weight is given to receptions as a WR measure. I’d rather have a receiver with 70 rec 1000 yards than a receiver with 100 rec and 1000 yards because the one with 70 rec did more per touch.

  2. The Packers paid Randall Cobb 10 million to catch 80 balls and have 800 yards. Looking at Jones and Brown, I’d say that was a pretty poor investment of funds. I thought the Packers GM was a WR savant?

    Which WR gets the nod as OPOY? Brown had to play with some really bad QB’s while Ben was out.

  3. Ah, no. 100 and 1500 are by no means ordinary.
    Regardless, point taken and congrats to a couple incredible WRs. To boot, they both seem like decent dudes, not your typical diva receiver. And that is probably the most amazing thing of all.

  4. As thorny implied, it should be safe to assume that Brown would have set new records for receptions and yards if he had had a decent QB for all 16 games.

  5. I say Brown gets the OPOY. Let me explain why.

    Atlanta had a healthy Matt Ryan, and outside of Devonte Freeman, no real other Offensive threats.

    Pittsburgh on the other hand, Had to cycle through QB’s throughout the year, and Brown had to contend against looks and touches from D. Williams, L.Bell(while healthy), Martavis Bryant, and the occasional look to Miller or Wheaton.

    Although they had the same amount of catches, Antonio had 3 more TD’s than Julio, and only one fumble to 3 Julio had. But…Julio had 620 YAC to Browns 570. So it’s really quite a matchup.

    I think athletically, Julio is the more prominent WR, but I feel like Brown is the bigger playmaker. Either way, both extremely good players.

  6. Julio Jones is better then I ever thought he would be coming out of college. Ab is a dynamic playmaker and will be for years to come. Two great receivers in the NFL. I just hope AB can snag a superbowl ring soon.

  7. Antonio Brown had the 4th best receiving season of all time against 12 probowl defensive backs voted in 2015. With 3 different Qb’s throughout the year. I think he gets the nod over Julio for best offensive player.

  8. buccedtb says:
    Jan 5, 2016 2:29 PM
    rules change to protect quarterbacks and receivers

    Should be the headline

    _________________________________________

    Absolutely the only response.

  9. I mean, Antonio Brown really should just thank Martavius Bryant for is success though, right Steeler fans? After all, Bryant was the best WR out of the 2014 draft. Just ask a Steelers fan.

  10. Antonio Brown seems unstoppable. He is the reason every team fears the Steelers. With a healthy Big Ben, he may have broken the all time reception record. The Broncos did well against him in the first half but he burned them in the second half.

  11. cupcake PI calls and rules changes allow for no comparisons. the league has changed to essentially no contact for QB’s and WR’s.

  12. Both elite WRs who would be great in any era of the NFL. The impressive thing about Brown is his size. At 5’10” and 181 lbs (listed) he proves yet again that great WRs don’t necessarily need to be giants, like Jones, Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, etc. Size helps, but quality WRs come in all sizes. Speed, hands, attention to detail, and courage are the true requisites for the great ones in today’s game, and Brown and Jones possess them all.

  13. I just compared the WR numbers from 2013 and 2014 to 2015, and there is a HUGE jump. Take a look on the NFL site. Its pretty staggering… the enforcement of defenseless player rules was an NFL “point of emphasis” in the 2015 season. So, it really is no coincidence that WR numbers are much higher. We are entering into a new era folks. Soon the average number of points scored in an NFL game will look nothing like we are used to!! Basketball on turf!!

  14. Moreover, in 2012 there were 16 RBs with over 1000 yards. In 2015, there are 7. Rushing the ball is so old school…. just wing it up there and get a huge gain or you have a 50/50 shot at a penalty. Ugh.

  15. Moreover, in 2012 there were 16 RBs with over 1000 yards. In 2015, there are 7. Rushing the ball is so old school…. just wing it up there and get a huge gain or you have a 50/50 shot at a penalty. Ugh.

    this is known as the goodellification or the wussification of the NFL …. or the arenafication

  16. Just to think, Antonio Brown went through 5 games this years where a worthless Vick wouldn’t throw him the ball. Imagine what stats AB would have if he had Ben Roth throwing to him all year.

    AB>>>>JJ

  17. Best 6th round draft picks in NFL history

    1. Tom Brady
    2. Antonio Brown
    3. Terrell Davis
    4. Joe Klecko
    5. Matt Hasselbeck

  18. doe22us says:
    Jan 5, 2016 3:22 PM
    Those talking about their fantasy squads, give it a rest, once again nobody cares who you had or didnt..

    _______________________________________________________

    BUT I DRAFTED THE PLAYERS WITH ALL THE BEST STATS FROM THE PREVIOUS COUPLE OF YEARS. I CAN READ STATS. I KNOW FOOTBALL. CAN’T YOU JUST SEE HOW SMART I AM?! I CAN’T BELIEVE CLEVELAND HASN’T CALLED ME ABOUT THEIR GM POSITION YET.

  19. You look at those receiving numbers – and then at the fact that the NFL rushing crown was won this year with an average of under 100 yds/game – and you realize that the migration to a passing league is complete.

  20. To the comment above about lack of 1,00-yard rushers this year -Don’t forget some of the best RBs in the league got hurt his year: Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, Leveon Bell, I’m sure I’m forgetting some, as well as guys like Matt Forte who missed about 4 games.

  21. Receiving records are meaningless to me know the amount of passing that is going on in the game now.

    It’s just like when college players are breaking records when they’re playing 2, 3, 4 more games than the previous record holder.

  22. Matt Ryan has some great numbers, but this year he has thrown INTs at the most inopportune times. The last pass of this season was a prime example. The game was meaningless, but just wanted to see them beat the Stains one last time.

  23. JJ is a great receiver no doubt about it and he was usually the focal point of opposing defenses as well making his year all the more impressive.
    AB was just flat out otherworldly this year considering the QB’s outside of Roethlisberger throwing him the ball.
    But looking at the numbers DeAndre Hopkins is the guy whose performance jumps off the screen. Not only was he the primary focus of every opposing D but he had Hoyer, Mallett, Yates and Weeden throwing him the ball. Think about that for a minute.

    Yes the game has changed and not for the better. But before we use that as an argument to diminish what they accomplished this year keep in mind that every other receiver in the league was playing under the same wussified rules they were. We can’t fairly compare receiving numbers now from even a few years ago anymore than we can fairly compare current teams to pre salary cap era teams.

    As for the fantasy guys, good for you if you cleaned up on them but no one outside of your ‘league’ cares about your make believe ‘team’

  24. Pass interference should only called when blatant. Also, pass interference again’t the receiver needs to be increased. Not saying these guys were big culprits of offensive PI, but push-offs seemed to be almost entirely ignored this year. Sure makes it easier to be wide open when you can halt the momentum of the guy defending you.

  25. And the Steelers only have to pay AB $8 million a year. He doesn’t have a contract like Larry, Megatron, Julio that cripples the salary cap.

    Salary cap should be used for the guy who touches the ball every snap, not the guy that touches it 5-12 times a game.

    Larry was lucky to sniff the SB. The other two haven’t come close.

  26. Imagine Brown and Jones’ numbers if they had to play under real football rules.
    Imagine Jerry Rice playing under these fake rules – 2500 yards?
    Imagine Charley Hennigan playing under these fake rules and playing 16 games – 2000+ yards.

    Moral – don’t compare eras that play under totally different rules.

  27. Jerry Rice played under the same rules as Wr’s today. No extra rules were made up to get them more yards. Qb’s throw the ball more, & Running the football has been cut back in today’s NFL. Receivers don’t get stats from PI calls or from a Qb getting a ruffing the passer call..

  28. Officials refusal to call offensive P.I. and pick plays also plays into this. It’s easier than ever for WRs to get open and with the lack of tackling skills in today’s NFL, yards after catch/contact come easier too.

  29. Jerry Rice played under the same rules as Wr’s today. No extra rules were made up to get them more yards. Qb’s throw the ball more, & Running the football has been cut back in today’s NFL. Receivers don’t get stats from PI calls or from a Qb getting a ruffing the passer call..

    ………………..you are saying rules haven’t changed? What about illegal contact, not being able to touch anyone after 5 yards. (Basically the patriot rule) it has totally changed the league, not to mention all te penalties for hits by defenders and they are gun shy so YAC has increased hugely

  30. tritz32 says:
    Jan 5, 2016 2:58 PM

    Had both of them and Larry Fitzgerald as my WR’s in fantasy this year. Needless to say – I won my league! Woooo!!!

    Um honestly that is not saying much about your league if you were actually able to get all 3.

  31. “As for the fantasy guys, good for you if you cleaned up on them but no one outside of your ‘league’ cares about your make believe ‘team’”
    ==================================
    One thing about playing fantasy football is that one is constantly aware of how all the the skill position players are doing on all the teams. You can really appreciate great performances by players who aren’t on your reality teams.

    On another note, one of the big reasons for the declining performances by RBs are injuries. Not very many started all 16 games this season. Not checking the stats, it seems that 8 – 10 starts was the average.

    Even though I am from the “older than dirt” generation, ( I was watching the NFL before there was an AFL ), I started playing fantasy 5 years ago to keep my interest up in the game that really has lost a lot of the quality of years ago.

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