The Washington Football Team's victory over the New York Giants on Sunday was considered largely meaningless to many, as the contest between two sub-.500 clubs had no impact on playoff implications.
However, Sunday's game at Metlife Stadium was certainly one that Terry McLaurin will never forget.
McLaurin totaled 41 of his 93 receiving yards on Sunday during Washington's opening drive. His second catch, a gain of 30 yards, officially put him over 1,000 receiving yards on the season. Going over the 1,000-yard mark was a significant moment in franchise history, as McLaurin became just the fifth player to post back-to-back 1,000 yards seasons sporting a Washington uniform.
"There's a lot of great history amongst this organization," McLaurin told NBC Sports Washington during Washington Football Postgame Live. "To have my name amongst a lot of guys who have changed the game and changed my position, that's very humbling. I'm very blessed to be in this situation. To be able to come back and have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, it gives me a lot of pride. ... I don't take it for granted."
By posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, McLaurin joins elite company in team history.
The four other past Washington wideouts to accomplish the feat are Bobby Mitchell, Art Monk, Gary Clark and Henry Ellard. Mitchell and Monk are in the Hall of Fame. Clark is a four-time Pro Bowler and holds many franchise receiving records. Ellard finished his career with seven 1,000-yard seasons and was named first-team All-Pro twice.
Since entering the NFL in 2019, McLaurin has experienced plenty of success -- especially considering he was a third-round pick and has been forced to play alongside seven different quarterbacks. Few wideouts across the league would be able to be as productive if put in McLaurin's situation.
Yet, despite his rise as an elite receiver, McLaurin has remained humble.
"It's a blessing to be able to [total 1,000 yards] just once in the NFL, let alone twice. I don't think I could really do that without the guys in the locker room," McLaurin told reporters postgame. "To be trusted as the main guy is not as easy as it may sound. You have to earn it every single day. That's been my mentality since I've been drafted here. I don't think that's going to change."
Entering Sunday's game, McLaurin was 40 yards short of that elusive 1,000 mark. Throughout practice all week, McLaurin's teammates made it known they would do everything they could against New York to help the star wideout to eclipse that number.
"Yes I did," McLaurin said when asked if he knew he passed the mark. "The guys were telling me all week, 'we've got to get you to 1,000.' I'm not superstitious, but I didn't want to jinx it, either. Kind of after the first drive, you get it and it was cool. That means a lot to me that so many guys wanted me to get that milestone and that accolade. I feel like it says a lot about the trust they have in me and just the way they support me."
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke echoed a similar sentiment after the game on just how badly the team wanted McLaurin to reach that mark.
"Yeah, we wanted to get him that. It's a big accomplishment," Heinicke said. "It's his third year and he's got two of them already. That's huge. He's gone through seven, eight, nine quarterbacks. It's a testament to him and how hard he works and how good of a player he is. So, it kind of was a big emphasis this week."
Although the 2021 season just concluded, McLaurin already has his goals laid out for next year. The 26-year-old specifically wants to improve on accumulating yards after the catch -- something he was exceptional at in 2020 but saw his numbers dip in this season.
"That's one of the goals I have going into next season, to be better after I get the ball in my hands," he said. "Just trying to make guys miss more and get extra yards, because those add up."
As Washington shifts into offseason mode, one of the biggest decisions the club's front office will have to make is whether to offer McLaurin a contract extension. The 2022 season is the final one of McLaurin's rookie contract, as he doesn't have a fifth-year option since he wasn't a first-round selection.
For now, McLaurin plans to take a few weeks off of football and rest up following a tough season. Whether he ends up getting a new deal or not, he's excited for what the future holds after another solid season.
"I've learned to live in the moment, live in the now," McLaurin said. "Whatever happens in the future, I'm looking forward to it."