While some NFL teams dominate and win their games on the ground, others use their passing game to exploit opposing defenses and win the championship. Here’s a look at the top 10 players with the most receiving yards in a single Super Bowl*.
10 (tied). Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl XLV
Super Bowl statistics: 9 receptions, 140 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Nelson led the team in receiving over teammates Greg Jennings and Donald Driver by opening up the scoring with an Aaron Rodgers’ 29-yard touchdown pass to Nelson past cornerback William Gay. The Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.
10 (tied). Mushin Muhammad, Carolina Panthers, Super Bowl XXXVIII
Statistics: 4 receptions, 140 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
With only four catches in the game, most of Muhammad’s yards came from an 85-yard pass by Jake Delhomme in the fourth quarter. The New England Patriots defeated the Panthers 32-29.
9. Deion Branch, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVII
Statistics: 10 receptions, 143 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Coupled with Muhammad’s performance, this was only the second Super Bowl to feature one 100-yard receiver on each team. The Patriots defeated the Panthers 32-29.
8. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV
Statistics: 7 receptions, 148 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
Working excellently with Joe Montana, Rice caught touchdown passes from 20, 38, and 28 yards away from the end zone. The 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos 55-10.
7. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIX
Statistics: 1 carry, 10 rushing yards, 10 receptions, 149 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
Five years after his great performance against the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, Rice tied his own record for the most touchdown receptions in a Super Bowl. The 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
5 (tied). Rod Smith, Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XXXIII
Statistics: 1 carry, 1 rushing yard, 5 receptions, 152 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
In the first play following a missed Morten Anderson 26-yard field goal, John Elway found an open Smith for the 80-yard touchdown catch. The Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-19.
5 (tied). Andre Reed, Buffalo Bills, Super Bowl XXVII
Statistics: 8 receptions, 152 receiving yards
Reed’s total of 152 receiving yards was the most ever by a player on the losing team in the Super Bowl. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Bills 52-17.
4. Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl X
Statistics: 4 receptions, 161 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Also the MVP of the game, Swann was also the first wide receiver to ever win the Super Bowl MVP award. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys 21-17.
3. Isaac Bruce, St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl XXXIV
Statistics: 6 receptions, 162 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
In the Rams’ game-winning drive, Kurt Warner completed a 73-yard touchdown pass to Bruce with about two minutes left in the game. The Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16.
2. Ricky Sanders, Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XXII
Statistics: 1 carry, -4 rushing yards, 9 receptions, 193 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
In a game that featured plenty of offensive firepower by the Redskins in the second quarter, Sanders tied a then-Super Bowl record with an 80-yard touchdown reception in the impressive quarter. The Redskins defeated the Broncos 42-10.
1. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIII
Statistics: 1 carry, 5 rushing yards, 11 receptions, 215 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Was also game MVP
Deservedly the Super Bowl MVP of the game, Rice had an incredible game that became the last game coached by Bill Walsh and one of the best Super Bowls of all-time. The 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16.
*Statistics are updated as of Super Bowl XLV.
Super Bowl Leaders, Pro-Football-Reference.com
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Austin Chang is a lifelong football fan, San Francisco 49ers supporter, and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.