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Hines Ward Moves Up Career Leader Boards In Sunday's Win Over Titans

Four games into the 2011 NFL season, we hadn’t heard Hines Ward’s name called too frequently. Ward had just 13 receptions through four weeks, including a one-catch game in the Steelers Week 4 loss to the Texans. Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Arians finally got the heart and soul of their offense involved more regularly in Week 5, however, and the results were outstanding. Ward hauled in seven catches in the 38-17 win. He only amassed 54 receiving yards, but Roethlisberger was clearly trying to get the ball out more quickly this week after being battered and bruised in the pocket the previous two weeks. Most importantly, two of Ward’s seven catches went for touchdowns. They were his first two TDs of the season.

Ward, in his 14th season, continues to climb the career leader boards in every significant statistical category for receivers. Let’s first take a look at his career numbers:

Receptions: 974
Receiving Yards: 11,892
Receiving Touchdowns: 85

Here’s where he stacks up against the competition for his career.

Receptions: 8th
Receiving Yards: 20th
Receiving Touchdowns: 85

Ward will not be catching the seven players ahead of him in career receptions anytime soon. Isaac Bruce is seventh on the list with 1,024 catches. With 11 games still remaining on the schedule this year, Ward has a shot at catching Bruce sometime in December. Of course, he’ll be honored sooner than that when he eclipses the 1,000 career receptions plateau sometime next month.

Ward is, however, likely to pass Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (11,904) this coming Sunday provided he has at least 13 receiving yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Seems like a pretty safe bet that Ward will bump The Playmaker down to No. 20 all-time in that department.

Finally, Ward moved up several spots in the career receiving TDs charts. Heading into Week 5, his 83 TDs were the 19th most ever. Ward’s first TD of the afternoon put him in a tie for 16th with Andre Rison, Tommy McDonald, Mark Clayton and Irving Fryar. His second TD, a nifty catch and jump into the endzone, moved him past that quartet and into a tie at 13th with two Hall of Famers, Lance Alworth and Paul Warfield.

Impressive stuff from a future Hall of Famer himself.

The Steelers return to action in Week 6 against the Jaguars. Kickoff at Heinz Field is 1:00 pm local time.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.