Monday, December 28, 2009
Welker having historic season
By Tim Graham
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Wes Welker joined the New England Patriots three seasons ago, he had three career NFL starts and one career touchdown. His best season consisted of 67 catches.
Welker has a chance this year to double his most productive season before he became a Patriot.
He caught 13 passes in Sunday's manhandling of the Jacksonville Jaguars and inflated his franchise record to 122 receptions in a season. That also leads the NFL by a comfortable margin.
Welker has done all of this in 13 games. There's still one left, and he missed two in September with an injury.
His 9.4 receptions per game would be an NFL record. If he doesn’t catch a ball Sunday against the Houston Texans, then he will average 8.7 receptions in 14 games, one-tenth of a percentage behind Marvin Harrison's 2002 record.
Since Welker landed in Foxborough after three seasons with the Miami Dolphins, he has recorded at least 100 receptions every year. He's one of only five players in NFL history to hit triple digits in three straight seasons.
Those outputs -- 112 catches, 111 catches, 122 (and counting) catches -- are the three greatest in Patriots history and place him sixth on the franchise receptions list.
"No, I never envisioned" that sort of production when he joined the Patriots, Welker said. "I knew my numbers would probably go up just having Tom [Brady] and the type of offense we're in and things like that. I never knew it would be like this. Definitely, I'm very blessed to be a Patriot and to be here."
Welker notched at least 10 receptions in a game for the seventh time this year, tying the NFL record Andre Johnson set in 2008.