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Most Receptions in a Game

The most catches ever recorded in a game was 21 by Brandon Marshall while playing for the Denver Broncos. That’s more than completion numbers than some quarterbacks even rattle off in a game. Even though Marshall caught 21 balls, the Broncos still lost the game 28-16 against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Manning would lead his team to a Superbowl appearance a couple months later.

Most Receptions in a game

The date was December 13, 2009 and the Broncos were in the middle of a heated playoff race. They came into Indianapolis with an 8-5 record that day against an undefeated 13-0 Colts team. Peyton Manning had an up and down day but did enough to secure the win, throwing for three touchdowns.

Marshall’s quarterback that day was journeyman Kyle Orton. He actually played pretty well, throwing for 277 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Toss in a completion rate of 71% and I’m even more impressed with the veteran.

Brandon Marshall stiff arms a defender while playing wide receiver for the Denver Broncos

Brandon Marshall caught his 21 receptions (off 28 targets) for 200 yards and two touchdowns. An interesting aspect of his stat line that day was that his longest catch only went for 23 yards. Usually when a receiver has a giant day like this, he has at least one or two big yardage receptions. Not Marshall. He averaged under 10 yards per catch.

Brandon Marshall NFL Career

After being drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft, Marshall slightly tore his PCL in the preseason. He would only catch 20 receptions all year which is ironic because it’s less than the number of receptions he caught in the game when he had the most catches in a game of all time.

Brandon Marshall makes one handed catch while playing for the Chicago Bears

The following three seasons in Denver were great for Brandon Marshall as he eclipsed 1,100 yards and scored at least six touchdowns in each. He then went on to the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears, where he continued to put up great numbers. From 2007 to 2013, Marshall put up 1,000 receiving each year, topping out at 1,508 in 2012 for Chicago.

In 2015, he went to try his luck with the New York Jets and had a 109-reception, 1,500 yard season playing with notable Wonderlic stud Ryan Fitzpatrick. Although he couldn’t beat the number he put up in 2009 for most receptions in a game, Marshall had the highest average reception length of his career at 13.8 yards.

Next up for most catches in a game

Here are other notable high catch performances:

PlayerTeamReceptionsYear
Brandon MarshallDenver Broncos212009
Terrell OwensSan Francisco 49ers202000
Brandon MarshallDenver Broncos182008
Jason WittenDallas Cowboys182012
Tom FearsLos Angeles Rams181950
Antonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers172015
Clark GainesNew York Jets171980
Jerry RiceSan Francisco 49ers161994
Michael ThomasNew Orleans Saints162018
Antonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers162015

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