Michael Thomas on cusp of single-season catch record

Eleven is an apropos number for Thomas.

With 133 catches through 15 weeks, Thomas sits just 11 snags shy of breaking Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison's single-season NFL record for receptions (143 in 2002). He needs just four to pass Julio Jones and Antonio Brown for second-most all-time (136).

Needing just 5.5 catches in two games puts Thomas near a statistical certainty to own the record, barring something catastrophic happening.

Thomas has only one game this season with fewer than six receptions. He has not had consecutive games with fewer than six receptions since Weeks 12-13, 2018. In no two-game stretch this season has the star failed to catch at least 14 passes.

It almost seems more likely Thomas breaks the record in one week against the Tennessee Titans than for him to come up short altogether. Five times this season, Thomas has earned 11 or more catches in a game (10 times in his career). Thomas has earned double-digit catches in eight games this season -- four others he's caught at least eight. The Titans have allowed two players to catch 11 passes in a game this season (Mike Evans in Week 8, Tyreek Hill in Week 10).

(If you need to stop to take a breath at this point, we understand. We've got a lot more to throw at you, so brace yourself.)

With eight more receptions, Thomas will best Antonio Brown's record for most receptions in a two-season span (265).

The Saints' dynamo is tied with Andre Johnson (2008) for the most games of 10-plus receptions and 100-plus receiving yards in a single season (seven).

Through Week 15, DeAndre Hopkins sits No. 2 in the NFL in receptions with 99. If the 34-catch gap between the two holds, it would mark the second-largest split between first and second in receptions in a single season. Packers legend Don Hutson currently sits in the top spot at +47 in 1942 (74 catches; second, Pop Ivy of the Chicago Cardinals, had 27; #DifferentEra). In his record-breaking season, Marvin Harrison had a +31 margin over No. 2 in 2002.

Thomas dominates by destroying DBs off the line of scrimmage and snagging everything tossed his way. The 26-year-old's current 83.6 reception percentage this season (133 on 159 targets) would sit second-most since targets began being recorded in 1992 (minimum 50 targets), behind only ... Michael Thomas from 2018 (85).

It's not just the short, quick throws from Drew Brees where Thomas excels, he also makes ridiculous plays downfield, owning the highest catch rate of 10-plus air-yard throws, per Next Gen Stats.

Sunday's game against Tennessee bodes well for Thomas, Brees and the Saints' passing attack. The Titans have allowed 258.1 pass YPG this season (25th in NFL) and 297.2 pass YPG since Week 10 (31st in NFL).

Needing a win to keep their dreams of a No. 1 seed alive, the Saints should throw a bevy of targets Thomas' way on Sunday, and perhaps Marvin Harrison's record might fall with one game to spare.

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