Reflecting on a Record: Welker hits 100 receptions for fifth time

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Reflecting on a Record: Welker hits 100 receptions for fifth time

Slightly lost in last Sundays failed comeback and the "Should the Pats tank the last two games?" debate that's followed was a pretty ridiculous record set by New England's Mustachioed Marauder, AKA Wesley Carter Welker.

In case you missed, although you probably didnt, with his 12-yard reception in the fourth quarter of Sundays game, Welker became the first player in NFL history to register five 100 reception seasons.

Lets take a second and breath that in:

FIRST. RECEIVER. EVER.

He now has one more 100-catch seasons than Jerry Rice. One more than Marvin Harrison. Two more than Herman Moore. Three more than Cris Carter. Four more than Larry Centers and FIVE MORE THAN TONY SIMMONS.

Thats absolutely unbelievable.

Seriously, take just one more second and breath it in. Inhale it like you're Snoop Lion (nee: Dogg) right before a big show:

FIRST. RECEIVER. EVER.

Of course, Welker's achievement is at least somewhat a product of the changing face of the NFL game. As offenses continue to evolve and passing records continue to fall (of the top 15 single-season passing totals, 11 have occurred since 2000), it's only natural for the receivers to start reaping some record-breaking benefits. So while Welker might be the first guy in more than 90 years of NFL football with five 100-catch seasons, it shouldn't be long before he has some company.

For instance, Brandon Marshalls only 28 years old and has four 100 catch seasons (including this one). Andre Johnson needs only seven catches over his last two games for his fourth 100 catch season. Reggie Wayne only needs three more catch for his fourth.

Then again, it's hard to imagine that Welker's done either. Before he hangs them up, he could have six or seven or who knows? Even nine 100 catch seasons under his belt.

The only question is which uniform he'll have tucked into that belt, and honestly, at this point, there's no use in really speculating. Obviously, if you ask any New England fan, or probably, any player in that Pats locker room, you'll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't want No. 83 back for another few years. We all know what he brings to this team. We all know how much he deserves a deal. BUT we also know that once Bill Belichick makes up his mind about something especially when that "something" pertains a player's value there's usually no convincing him otherwise.

Anyway, like I said, we've got another few weeks hopefully another six before that issue comes back into play. For now, we'll just take another second and breathe in the wonders of Welker, and hope that it won't be long before he's got a shiny ring to go along with that ridiculous 'stache.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

FOXBORO – Griff Whalen was at the epicenter of one of the stupidest, funniest, most “did that just happen?!” plays in NFL history.

So indescribable it never even really earned a name, it was the fourth-down gadget play the Colts tried to run against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in the first meeting between the teams after Indy ran to the principal’s office to start Deflategate. 

Whalen was the center on that play (I tried to call it “Fourth-and-Wrong” but it didn’t take) and the millisecond between him snapping the ball and the three players processing that the ball had indeed been snapped is perhaps my favorite moment of the past several seasons. 

Whalen is a Patriot now, brought in this week in the wake of Danny Amendola’s knee injury presumably to fill Amendola’s role as a punt returner and wideout. The Colts released him last January, the Dolphins picked him up and cut him at the end of training camp and the Chargers had him on their roster from mid-September until releasing him last month after eight games, two catches and 22 yards. He returned kickoffs for San Diego but no punts since 2015.

The primary area of need for the Patriots is on punt returns. Rookie Cyrus Jones’ transition to appearing comfortable remains glacially slow. It was Jones’ muff last week that brought on Amendola in relief. When Amendola hurt his ankle on a late-game return, the Patriots were forced to decide between Jones, wideout Julian Edelman (who doesn’t need extra work) and making a move.

Whalen is a move they made.

The slight and baby-faced Whalen indicated he had fielded some punts in practice, saying it went, “Fine.” Punt returns are something he’s done “since I was a kid.”

His first impression of the team was, "A lot of what I expected to see. A lot of detail. A lot of effort in practice. Good coaching all-around. I am excited to be here. I was excited to come into a good team that I’d gone against a few times. Hopefully come in and help out the team with whatever I can.”

I asked Whalen if he saw much of the commentary or creativity last year’s failed play spawned.

“I wasn’t paying too much attention,” he said. “When it’s during the season guys are pretty locked in on what they’re doing inside the building. But I heard more about it later on afterwards.”

Asked if he’d heard anything about the play since being here, Whalen replied, “I haven’t. Kinda was [expecting it].”

The Patriots will be hoping Whalen remains as productive for them on fourth down this year as he was in 2015.

 

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

CBS interviewed Patriots coach Bill Belichick and 1960 Heisman winner Joe Bellino from Navy as part of its Army-Navy Game coverage Saturday.

Belichick's father, Steve, was an assistant coach at Navy when Bellino played there, and little Bill, then 7, took it all in. So much so, that 57 years later, Belichick can still diagram the 27 F Trap play that his dad used to drew up in the 1959 season for Bellino.

More from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk here.