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Michael Thomas led the NFL by 33 catches, biggest margin in decades

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas didn’t just set the single-season record for catches this season. He blew away the field like no other player in decades.

Thomas led the NFL with 149 catches this year, 33 ahead of Christian McCaffrey, who was No. 2 with 116. The gap of 33 catches between the leader and No. 2 is the biggest since 1942, when Don Hutson led the NFL with 74 catches and Pop Ivy finished second with 27 catches.

Passing numbers have risen steadily over the years, to the point where numbers that once looked incredible -- like 100 catches or 5,000 passing yards in a season -- now look routine. But even in that inflated passing environment, Thomas stood head and shoulders above the crowd.

Thomas averaged an amazing 9.3 catches per game this year. The Saints will be counting on Thomas to catch another nine or 10 balls a game in the playoffs.