Shutdown Corner - NFL

In the first three weeks of December in the year 2004, a wide receiver had the greatest three-game stretch in recent NFL history. And it didn't come from a Harrison, a Moss or an Owens. It was put up by Drew Bennett(notes), a guy who had never provided any suggestion that such a performance was in the works and one who would never come close to such output again. On the day after Bennett's retirement from the NFL, we look back at his historic run.

For three games in Weeks 13-15 of the 2005 season, Bennett put up stunning, historic numbers for the Tennessee Titans. Catching balls from backup Billy Volek(notes), Bennett posted 28 receptions, 517 yards and eight touchdowns in those three games.

In comparison, here are the best three-game totals from some of the premiere receivers in NFL history:

Jerry Rice(notes): 32 receptions, 563 yards, 3 touchdowns

Marvin Harrison(notes): 28 receptions, 421 yards, 6 touchdowns

Randy Moss(notes): 22 receptions, 403 yards, 5 touchdowns

Terrell Owens(notes): 24 receptions, 472 yards, 7 touchdowns

(You can pick any number of three-game stretches for Jerry Rice. He had two in which he caught eight touchdowns -- an NFL record which Bennett tied -- but he wasn't as prolific in yards and catches in those games.)

Bennett's numbers are all the more stunning when you consider that prior to the run he had only three career games with over 100 yards receiving and had never caught more than one touchown in a game. But when an injury to Steve McNair(notes) forced Billy Volek into the lineup, Bennett blew up. He caught three long touchdown passes in the first quarter of a Week 13 game against Indianapolis and in the subsequent two weeks, Volek and Bennett would connect 25 times for five more touchdowns, including a 12-catch, 253 yard, three touchdown afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Volek himself would set an NFL mark for most passing yards in the first seven games of a career.)

The resounding success was short-lived though. When Derrick Mason(notes) left Tennessee via free agency the following year, Bennett was slotted as the Titans' No. 1 receiver, a role he was never really cut out for. He still led the team in receptions in 2005, but increased attention from opposing secondaries and injuries produced a marked diminish in production. Over the next five seasons (which included a stint in St. Louis), Bennett would score 10 touchdowns, just two more than he had for those magical three afternoons in December.

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