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Antonio Brown takes NFL lead in catches, yards and receiving touchdowns


during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium on December 4, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Andy Lyons

With another big game in Monday night’s win over the Bengals, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is separating himself from the rest of the league.

Through 12 games, Brown has caught 88 passes for 1,296 yards and nine touchdowns. That gives him the league lead in all three categories: Brown leads second-place Larry Fitzgerald by six catches, leads second-place DeAndre Hopkins by 212 yards, and is tied with Hopkins and Jimmy Graham for the league lead in touchdowns.

That’s a rare achievement: Not since Steve Smith of the Panthers in 2005 has a receiver led the NFL in all three categories. Before Smith did it no one had done it since Sterling Sharpe of the Packers in 1992. Before Sharpe it was Jerry Rice in 1990, and before Rice the feat hadn’t been accomplished since before the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

Brown has established himself as the NFL’s top receiver, but he may deserve credit beyond just that: If Brown keeps playing well down the stretch, he’s worthy of consideration for league MVP.