Terry McLaurin closing in on Washington milestone ahead of Week 18 finale

The Washington Football Team fan base has all but directed their attention to what’s shaping up to be a franchise-altering offseason.

It appears the front office is on the same wavelength, because it crossed off one of the offseason’s biggest question marks this week when they inked left tackle Charles Leno to a three-year, $37.5 million extension.

A lot more needs to be done, but before we can fully turn the page on the 2021-22 regular season, Washington has one game left to play.

Unfortunately for fans, this contest doesn’t have much meaning. While a win over Joe Judge and the Giants after the second-year head coach’s delusional shots at Washington would be remarkably satisfying, it could end up hurting the club as it pertains to the 2022 draft order.

See the problem? Even rooting for a victory, which Washington needs after an adversity-littered season, comes at a cost.

You know what all fans can get behind though? Pulling for a big game from Terry McLaurin, who, through no fault of his own, has had a down year for his standards. Despite that, the star wide receiver is closing in on a noteworthy milestone.

With 40 or more receiving yards on Sunday, McLaurin would become the first Washington wideout to log consecutive 1,000-yard seasons since Henry Ellard did so in three straight seasons spanning 1994-1996.

Washington Football Team star Terry McLaurin can join elite company in Sunday’s regular-season finale.

Yes that stat, dug up by Ethan Cadeaux of NBC Sports Washington, is depressing on the surface. It’s almost unfathomable to think the WFT hasn’t had a receiver post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 25 years.

You’d think Santana Moss would be the lone outlier, but nope. The former Pro Bowler managed an impressive three 1,000-yard seasons with the club, but never in consecutive years (2005, 2008 and 2010). Sprinkled in between those campaigns, Moss posted yardage totals of 790, 808, and 902.

As a rookie, McLaurin fell 81 yards short of the 1,000-yard mark. He averaged 65.8 yards per game that season, which would normally equate to a 1,049-yard output. However, missing two games through injury ruined his chances.

As a sophomore, McLaurin broke that elusive threshold with ease, totaling 1,118 receiving yards, which ranked 11th amongst wide receivers.

The 25-year-old has appeared in all 16 games this year, but his production has been severely hindered by subpar QB play. That’s not to say Taylor Heinicke has been poor all year, but his lack of arm strength and accuracy, especially beyond the numbers, is largely to blame for McLaurin’s own inconsistencies.

For context, McLaurin hasn’t had a 100-yard game since Week 11. In the six games since, the former Ohio State Buckeye has gone over 60 yards just once, averaging a paltry 37.5 yards. That stretch included a 22-yard effort in Week 13 and him going catch-less for the first time in his career vs Dallas the following week.

It also hasn’t helped that McLaurin’s projected sidekicks at wide receiver — Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown being the main culprits — have been non-factors. Throw in the fact that injuries limited Logan Thomas to just six games, and it’s easy to see why McLaurin has been invisible for long stretches.

Still, the fact he’s closing in on this milestone is a testament to both his talent and character. Through all the inconsistencies of the offense, he’s put his head down and delivered in the moments he’s been called upon.

If you need a reason to watch Sunday’s finale — other than Joe Judge potentially making a fool of himself, obviously — tune in for McLaurin. If any WFT receiver over the last 25 years deserves to break this drought, it’s No. 17.