It’s sometimes easy to forget just how difficult it is for an NFL wide receiver to rack up 200 yards in a single game, even with passing statistics at an all-time high. Sure, those types of games are a bit more commonplace these days but it’s still not an easy thing to accomplish, which is why there have only been eight 200+-yard receiving performances in the NFL playoffs.
Not surprisingly, Jerry Rice, who most consider to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, has one of those eight performances but he’s not in the top five. However, his 215-yard performance for the 49ers against the Bengals in 1989, which is No. 6 on the list, is the only one to take place in the Super Bowl. Calvin Johnson is No. 7 on the list with a 211-yard game for the Lions against the Saints in 2012, a performance that came just one day before DeMaryius Thomas racked up 204 yards for the Broncos against the Steelers, which currently stands as the eighth-best postseason receiving performance.
Here’s a look at the top five single-game receiving performances in NFL playoff history.
5. Steve Smith had 218 receiving yards for the Panthers in 2006 against the Bears in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs
Coming in at number five on the list of the top single-game receiving performances in NFL playoff history is longtime Carolina Panters wideout, Steve Smith.
On January 15, 2006, the fifth-seeded Panthers were matched up with the second-seeded Chicago Bears in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs and Smith caught 12 passes from Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 29-21 victory that sent them to the NFC Championship Game, which they lost to the Seattle Seahawks.
4. Reggie Wayne racked up 221 yards for the Colts in 2005 against the Broncos
The first of two Indianapolis Colts in the top five, Reggie Wayne, who was a favorite target of Peyton Manning for a long time, comes in at No. 4 on the list.
The Colts were the No. 3 seed in the AFC heading into the NFL playoffs following the 2004 season and were matched up with the Denver Broncos in the wild-card round on January 9, 2005. Manning had a monster day, completing 27 of 33 passes for 458 yards and four touchdowns and Wayne was a big part of his day as he caught 10 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns in Indy’s 49-24 blowout victory.
3. T.Y. Hilton had 224 yards for Indianapolis against the Chiefs in 2014
It stands to reason that you might have guessed Marvin Harrison would be the other member of the Colts on the top five of this list but it’s actually T.Y. Hilton.
Hilton was coming off his second season in Indianapolis and his first season of 1000+ receiving yards when the Colts squared off with the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round on January 4, 2014, a game that turned into quite the shootout. Indy came out on top, 45-44, and Hilton was one of the big reasons why as the future four-time Pro Bowler caught 13 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, obviously breaking Reggie Wayne’s franchise record for receiving yards in an NFL playoff game.
2. Vikings receiver Anthony Carter outplayed Jerry Rice in the NFL playoffs in 1988
Now, when the name Carter appears on any receiving list when the Minnesota Vikings are involved, it’s only natural to assume that Cris Carter is the one being discussed. But that’s not the case here. No, the Carter we’re talking about here is the often-forgotten three-time Pro Bowler for the Vikings, Anthony Carter.
Heading into the NFL playoffs following the 1987 season, the Vikings were the No. 5 seed and after blowing out the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round, 44-10, they found themselves matched up with Jerry Rice and the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round on January 9, 1988. While Rice was obviously the better overall receiver, he wasn’t that day as Anthony Carter set a then-NFL playoff record with 227 receiving yards on 10 catches but surprisingly didn’t score a touchdown in the Vikings’ 36-24 win. Rice had just three catches for 28 yards in the loss.
1. Eric Moulds holds the all-time record for receiving yards in a single NFL playoff game
Three-time Pro Bowler Eric Moulds, who played 10 seasons for the Buffalo Bills before finishing his career playing a season each for the Texans and Titans, is the current record-holder for the most receiving yards in a single NFL playoff game.
Moulds and the Bills finished the 1998 season with a 10-6 record and were the No. 5 seed heading into the playoffs, where they were matched up with their AFC East rival, the Miami Dolphins, in the wild-card round on January 2, 1999. Moulds certainly did his part for the Bills that day, catching nine passes for 240 yards and a touchdown but it wasn’t enough as Buffalo lost, 24-17.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference