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With one week to go, T.Y. Hilton leads the NFL in receiving yards

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the midst of the Colts playing terrible football on Saturday and eliminating themselves from playoff contention was the fact that, once again, T.Y. Hilton continued to produce.

Hilton caught four passes for 105 yards against the Raiders, and it was quite the significant game for him: not only did he set new career marks in a number of categories, he also took over the NFL lead for receiving yards this year.

That’s right: no player in the NFL currently has more receiving yards this season than T.Y. Hilton does. He has 1,353, and the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. is next with 1,323 yards. The Falcons’ Julio Jones (1,313), the Steelers’ Antonio Brown (1,284), and the Buccaneers’ Mike Evans (1,256) round out the top five. A Colts player hasn’t led the NFL in receiving yards since Reggie Wayne did so in 2007, and before that Marvin Harrison did it twice (in 1999 and 2002). It’s incredibly impressive what Hilton has done this year, and it’s kind of flown under the radar but shouldn’t now that he’s in the lead in receiving yards with one week to go in the season.

Hilton is first in yards, but he’s also tied for ninth in receptions (85), is first in 20+ yard receptions (27), has the fourth-most receiving first downs (60), and is tied for ninth in yards per catch average.

Not only is Hilton playing as well as any NFL wide receiver this year, he’s also playing better than he ever has. In Saturday’s game, Hilton reached new career highs in single-season receptions (85) and in single-season yards (1,353), while also tying his career high for 100-yard games in a season (six, also done in 2014). He is one receiving touchdown away from tying his single-season high in that regard as well, as he has six this year (he had seven in both 2012 and 2014).

Furthermore, Saturday was Hilton’s 24th career 100-yard game, which breaks a tie with Hall of Famer Raymond Berry for the third-most such games in Colts history, behind only Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne. That’s not bad company whatsoever. The 100-yard game on Saturday also tied Hilton with A.J. Green for the eighth-most 100-yard games for a player through his first five seasons in NFL history.

I suppose there will always be those who criticise Hilton for various odd things, like being ‘too short’ or ‘too inconsistent’ or ‘not a true number one,’ but Hilton has answered every objection with his play on the field and has in turn produced a tremendous season, as he’s had a career year and is among the top receivers in the game this season.