McCaffrey, Smith each reach 100 catches against 49ers
In the end, the two unselfish Denver receivers both did.
McCaffrey and Smith finished Saturday's 38-9 victory against San Francisco with 101 and 100 receptions, respectively, becoming only the second NFL tandem to reach that level. Detroit's Herman Moore and Brett Perriman accomplished the feat in 1995.
McCaffrey's 101 catches broke the club record of 100 set by Lionel Taylor in 1961.
"It definitely made for a great memory," said McCaffrey, summing up the records and his team's convincing win which came in the final regular-season game at Mile High Stadium.
"I'm really happy to share a record with Rod," McCaffrey said. "That means a lot to me. The two of us kind of came into our own here in Denver at the same time. It feels great to have two guys go over 100. I think that's really special. He's been such a great friend and teammate over the years."
McCaffrey, who came into the game with an NFL-leading 96 catches, finished with five for 71 yards. His final catch broke the club record, a 25-yard touchdown pass from Gus Frerotte in the third quarter.
"It was basically just a 'go' route," McCaffrey said. "Gus threw it up and gave me a chance the play. Thank goodness I came down with it. It was a great way to have it."
Smith, who entered the final weekend of the season as the NFL's leader in receiving yardage (1,522), had eight catches for 80 yards, raising his total to 1,602 -- the eighth-highest figure in league history.
Although the Broncos were already ahead 31-0, they targeted Smith, throwing to him repeatedly late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. His eighth catch, putting him at 100, came on a 6-yard slant pattern.
The Pro Bowl-bound Smith laughed about dropping a couple of passes during that flurry.
"I was sabotaging the whole thing, but it worked out," he said. "They told me at halftime they were going to get me 100 no matter how many I dropped.
"We weren't trying to rub it in anybody's face. But there are certain milestones and certain goals that you want to reach as individuals, and our coaches gave us the opportunities.
"I had the most yards in a season. Ed had the most catches. That's great. It happened in the same year, so it's a good thing for both of us. That was sweet for him. He works his butt off, and I love working with him."
Head coach Mike Shanahan said McCaffrey and Smith are "two guys who think about team goals. They would never mention it to the coaching staff."