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It is no surprise that A.J. Brown topped 1,000 receiving yards for the season Sunday. After all, the second round pick out of Ole Miss entered the final game of the regular season just 73 yards shy of that mark.

What was unexpected was that he got there on a throw from Marcus Mariota, not Ryan Tannehill.

Brown surpassed one of football’s traditional landmarks with a 24-yard reception on the third play of the second quarter. It was his third catch of the game and got him to 77 receiving yards for the day. He finished with 124 yards on four receptions as the Titans defeated the Houston Texans 35-14 to earn their second playoff berth in three years.

“I’m blessed enough to get over 1,000,” Brown said. “I expected more out of myself, but like I said it’s a blessing.”

On the play that got him there (it was first-and-10 from midfield), Tannehill lined up at wide receiver while Mariota took the snap from the shotgun and quickly delivered an accurate throw on a crossing route.

It was Mariota’s first snap since he was benched in Week 6 in Denver. He saw a little more action in the fourth quarter.

“Just trying to do some things that can help us and show different looks,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “That’s all the thinking ever is.”

Brown ended his rookie season with 1,051 receiving yards, which made him the first Titans player since Delanie Walker in 2015 and the first Titans wide receiver since Kendal Wright in 2013 to get to 1,000. Of those yards, 764 came on passes from Tannehill, the starting quarterback for the last 10 games, and 287 on throws from Mariota.

His total ranks sixth by a Tennessee player during the Titans era (1999-present).

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A rundown of the Tennessee Titans’ top single-season receiving yardage totals (1999-present):

Player, positionYardsYearReceptions

Derrick Mason, WR




Derrick Mason, WR




Derrick Mason, WR




Delanie Walker, TE




Kendall Wright, WR




A.J. Brown, WR




 Brown also led the team with 52 receptions and his eight touchdown catches were at least twice as many as any of his teammates.

“What we’re asking him to do continues to go up,” Vrabel said. “The volume continues to go up. With that, there’s a certain responsibility that you have to be able to handle that volume and be where you need to be and execute.

“I think everyone would imagine (Tannehill) has a lot of confidence in A.J. … He’s a fun player to coach. He’s a huge part of our organization and I’m excited to be able to work with him every day.”

Brown started the scoring for the Titans and tied the game 7-7 with what has become his signature play, a long catch-and-run that included a broken tackle. He capped Tennessee’s opening possession with a 51-yard touchdown reception (pictured), with 39 of those yards after the catch.

That made him the fourth rookie in NFL history with at least four touchdown receptions of 50 yards or more. He had one of 55 yards in Week 4 at Atlanta, one from 65 yards in Week 12 against Jacksonville and one of 91 yards in Week 14 at Oakland. The first one was thrown by Mariota while Tannehill delivered the last three.

The only others to accomplish the feat were Isaac Curtis (Cincinnati, 1973), Willie Gault (Chicago, 1983) and Hall of Famer Randy Moss (Minnesota, 1988).

“When I get the ball, I’m really trying to score,” Brown said. “I’m not trying to be a receiver to catch the ball and go down. I’m trying to score a touchdown. There’s nothing else.”