Single-season king: Saints' Michael Thomas pulls in 144th catch, breaking Marvin Harrison's record

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Columnist
Yahoo Sports

There’s a new single-season receptions king.

New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas recorded his 144th catch of the season with 3:06 to play in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans.

Thomas caught a short pass on second-and-9 from the Tennessee 14, stiff-armed cornerback Logan Ryan and dove for the left front pylon. Initially the play was called a touchdown but it was overturned on review.

Two plays later, Drew Brees found Thomas for the touchdown, his 12th catch of the afternoon.

Thomas broke the mark of 143 receptions set by Marvin Harrison with the Indianapolis Colts in 2002.

He came into the Saints’ game with the Tennessee Titans needing 10 receptions to tie the mark and 11 to break, and got all of them in Week 16, meaning he has the regular-season finale to add to the record.

Thomas’ achievement seemed like a fait accompli all season: He had 94 receptions through the first 10 games, which was also a record, surpassing the 89 Harrison had in 2002 and Julio Jones had in 2015. Jones finished with 136 catches in ‘15.

The 26-year-old Thomas, who agreed to a record-breaking contract extension with New Orleans during training camp, has caught passes from three quarterbacks: Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, and Taysom Hill, who as the Saints’ slash offensive player has three completed passes this season, all to Thomas.

Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints is the NFL's new single-season catches king. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints is the NFL's new single-season catches king. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Incredible start to career

Also on Sunday, Thomas set a new record for most receiving yards in a player’s first four seasons. Randy Moss held the mark with 5,396 yards in his first 64 career games, all with the Minnesota Vikings. Thomas passed 5,400 in the second half against the Titans.

The 47th pick in 2016, Thomas is so prolific that in just 62 career regular-season games, he has 466 receptions. He’s already fourth on the Saints’ all-time list, trailing only Marques Colston (711 catches in 10 years with New Orleans), Eric Martin (532, nine) and Joe Horn (523, seven).

Thomas is the first player in NFL history to record 90 or more receptions in each of his first four seasons, and that is also a record for any player in his first four years — a record he broke on Nov. 10 against Atlanta and has only added to since.

Jarvis Landry previously held the mark for most catches over the first four seasons of a career, with 400.

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