In a season where so little has gone right for the Washington Redskins, receiver Pierre Garcon is having a record-setting year.
If Garcon maintains his seven catches per game pace, he’ll finish the season with 114, a total exceeded by only 12 receivers in NFL history.
“I’m just enjoying the moment, trying to get wins,” Garcon said. “No matter whether it’s preseason, regular season or playoffs, I’m always out there trying to make a play.
“I’m not doing anything different than any other year. After so much hard work, things start to fall into place for you.”
They have this year. Garcon’s numbers are impressive.
He has been targeted a league-leading 174 times, tops the NFL with a Redskins-record 107 catches, including a league-best 30 on third down. He’s third in the league with 586 yards after the catch.
He’s on pace for 1,376 receiving yards, which would be fifth in Washington history. This from a franchise that has had four Hall of Fame receivers: Wayne Millner, Bobby Mitchell, Art Monk and Charley Taylor.
“Pierre’s been phenomenal,” Redskins safety Reed Doughty said. “He took a lot of flak last year because of the injury, but he played excellent when he was able to.
“This year, he showed everybody who he can be and what he will be going forward.
Garcon and Washington wrap up the season at the New York Giants on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Garcon said that he hasn’t reached top form yet.
“I still have a chip on my shoulder every day,” said the 6-foot, 212-pound Garcon, who plays with a very physical style. “They said I couldn’t play in the NFL.
“I’m here and I’m helping my team. That gives me satisfaction every day.
“I can’t take away from the year I’m having, but there’s still a lot more I can do.”
Opponents should not dismiss his resolve.
It’s already been a long journey for Garcon.
Instead of landing at Florida, Florida State or Miami when leaving high school in South Florida, Garcon played at two Division III schools.
Indianapolis drafted him in the sixth round out of Mount Union in 2008. By his second season, he was a starter for the AFC champions.
In March 2012, Washington signed Garcon to a five-year, $42.5 million contract, $20.5 million of which was guaranteed.
He debuted with an 88-yard touchdown catch in the opening upset of New Orleans but injured a toe on his right foot. Garcon hobbled through three games and was sidelined for six others, but still led the NFC East champion Redskins with 633 receiving yards.
Garcon opted against surgery on toe, but he missed the offseason following a shoulder operation. He caught seven balls in the regular-season opener, had 143 yards the next week and has never looked back.
He and Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown are the only receivers with at least five catches in every game this season.
Garcon is catching passing in every way possible. Last Sunday against Dallas, he slipped but still caught a pass while sitting down.
“He’s in a zone,” said Washington’s Santana Moss, whom Garcon replaced as the Redskins’ No. 1 receiver.