INDIANAPOLIS – The 2012 season has been one of usual accomplishment for
The 12th-year receiver who celebrates a birthday on Saturday has used his veteran guile to make this another outstanding season in his career.
Wayne has 69 receptions for 931 yards and three touchdowns. He leads the NFL in receptions and ranks second in yards, and his totals through nine games represent the best at this juncture of any season in which he has played.
Wayne was a top-round 2001 draft pick who joined a galaxy of offensive talent that included Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Marcus Pollard, Ken Dilger and an offensive line that would pave the way for the Colts to record more than 5,000 net yards and 400 points almost annually for a decade to come.
He contributed early but not as often as his veteran teammates, but that changed as Wayne became one of only three NFL players ever to grow reception totals for seven straight seasons.
From his rookie season through 2004, Wayne’s reception total grew with his fluency in the offense: 27-49-68-77-83-86-104.
In the four seasons after that, Wayne had 82, 100, 111 and 75 receptions. Wayne is one of seven NFL players with three seasons topping 100 receptions (2007, 09-10), and he is one of 11 to do it consecutively.
Wayne now stands 13th in history with 931 receptions, 16th in yards (12,639) and tied for 26th with 76 scoring receptions.
Wayne is closing in on his eighth 1,000-yard season. Reaching that plateau will tie him with Harrison (8, 1999-2006) for the club record. Wayne’s seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2004-10, mark the second-longest consecutive streak in franchise history.
Wayne has receptions in 176 of 182 career games. He has multiple receptions in 171 outings and three or more receptions in 152 contests.
On Sunday, Wayne can tie an NFL record with what can be described as a near-usual performance.
If he can snare three passes at New England, Wayne will tie Cris Carter with 58 consecutive games with three or more receptions. Carter set the record from 1993-97 while with Minnesota.
The last time Wayne failed to do so was in the 2008 finale against Tennessee, when he had one reception for 15 yards in a game where the Colts seized control early as the Titans sat usual starters to rest them for the playoffs. With a 16-0 halftime lead, Indianapolis was able to get regulars out of action as well.
Wayne earlier this year tied a franchise record by having a touchdown reception from a seventh different passer. When he caught a 30-yard scoring reception from
Wayne put himself alongside Harrison and wide receiver Don McCauley in catching touchdown passes from seven different players.
Wayne will be playing in his 11th regular season game against New England. Wayne has 55 receptions for 734 yards and five touchdowns against the Patriots. He has three or more receptions in nine outings against New England.
Wayne will help lead the team into Foxborough on Sunday. Indianapolis visits the Patriots while on a four-game winning streak.
The Colts are one of six AFC teams with six or more wins, and the Patriots (6-3) are one of those teams. For Wayne, it is about winning.
“It’s the third quarter,” said Wayne of the season. “We need to do in third quarter what we did in the second quarter (Indianapolis was 3-1). We need to stay focused, go out there make plays, win games and just play Colts football. That’s all that we can do.”