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Keke Coutee’s 11 catches in debut sets modern-era record

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 30: Keke Coutee #16 of the Houston Texans runs the ball in the 2nd quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Texans rookie Keke Coutee should have had a dozen catches, but a drop left him with 11. It still set a modern-era record for most receptions by a player in his debut.

Only Sid Blanks of the Houston Oilers had more in NFL history, catching 13 in a Sept. 12, 1964, game. Coutee now holds the record since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, passing Anquan Boldin (2003) and Earl Cooper (1980), both of whom had 10 catches in their debuts.

“He did a nice job,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said in quotes distributed by the team. “It was his first game, and he has a lot to learn. There were some plays there that he needs to do a better job on. He would have had a bigger day, if that makes sense. But for a rookie to be his first game after having not played at all, it’s a pretty good first game. He has a lot to build on and a lot to improve on.”

The Texans drafted Coutee in the fourth round with high hopes for the Texas Tech product, but a hamstring injury kept him out until Sunday. His 11 catches went for 109 yards.

“It was very hard on me,” Coutee said of sitting. “That’s the longest I’ve sat out for anything, ever. So it humbled me a lot. I took the process on and [am] just happy to be back.”

Coutee made up for the absence of Will Fuller, who left in the second half with a hamstring injury. Fuller finished with four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.