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CeeDee Lamb Breaks Cowboys Rookie Record, Adds to #88 Legacy

CeeDee Lamb has quickly established himself as one of the top young receivers in football and added some style points on Sunday. His contorting touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings had the entire sports world singing, plus he’s now the all-time leader for receptions by a Dallas Cowboys rookie.

Lamb’s touchdown was his 46th catch of the season, tying the record held by “Bullet” Bob Hayes since 1965. Like many of you I’m sure, I was shocked that Hayes held that record given the evolution of the game since his era and the great legacy of receivers to come through Dallas.

But stats don’t lie; none of Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, or Dez Bryant had as many receptions in their first seasons as Bob Hayes. But now CeeDee Lamb holds the record and has six more games in 2020 to widen the gap.

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CeeDee Lamb just did something very difficult: Catch up to “Bullet” Bob Hayes. Lamb surpasses Hayes with 47th reception this season. A new Cowboys rookie record.

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To be fair, Dez Bryant had 45 catches in his rookie season and missed the last four games with an ankle injury. Had he stayed healthy there’s little doubt he’d have snagged the two balls needed to surpass Hayes on the list.

That being said, Lamb still got to 47 in just 10 games. So no asterisks allowed!

Pearson had 22 catches in 14 games as a rookie in 1973. Unlike the other members of the #88 Club, Drew got off to a slower start as an undrafted free agent and didn’t become a fulltime starter until his second season.

Even The Playmaker didn’t have a big first year with just 32 catches in 1988. But with the Cowboys going 3-13 in that final, difficult season of the Tom Landry Era, Irvin didn’t exactly have a lot of opportunities to shine.

Believe it or not, the black sheep of the #88 Club actually threatened Hayes’ record more than most. Antonio Bryant had 44 catches in 2003 to nearly etch out a place in the record book.

Pearson, Irvin, Bryant, Lamb, #88
Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, Dez Bryant, and CeeDee Lamb

Given what the #88 has meant to the Dallas Cowboys, it’s significance for WR excellence, it’s fitting that another team record now belongs to the club. Bob Hayes wore #22, which with Emmitt Smith alone makes that an equally significant jersey legacy.

There was some controversy back when Lamb was first drafted about which number he would wear. Most NFL receivers these days prefer the #10-19 range and it was reported that CeeDee was actually wanting to wear #10 with the Cowboys.

But Jerry Jones apparently pushed for #88, not just for team history reasons but also a personal one. He’d recently lost a friend and former teammate at Arkansas, Jerry Lamb, who wore the #88 for the Razorbacks.

So while some opined for CeeDee to not be burdened with the legacy the rookie has already lived up and even added to it. And sure, there’s no telling where his career will go from here (again, see Antonio Bryant) but at this point you won’t find a young receiver with higher stock than Lamb’s.

Indeed, CeeDee Lamb is already making a name for himself in the NFL. He’s adding to the highlight reels and the record books and will hopefully keep aiding the Dallas Cowboys’ attempted resurrection this season.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. Give him another yr to learn the nuances of the game/position and he’ll be a beast. Obviously Dalton can’t drive the ball down field to create explosive plays for his WRs like Dak can, but yea Moore has been creative with his play calling to work with Dalton and game plan to his abilities.

  2. Pretty cool stat. Rookie wr often take tome to adjust to the NFL game. However, when talking about records, many writers often fail to point out the differnces in the game from the 60 and 70s compared to now. Rules changes allowing qbs and wr an advantage that was missing years ago. the dynamic of passing in today’s nfl as opposed to when bullet Bod and Drew Pearson played, and finally when discussing seasonal records, it would only be fair to compare the number of games played in a season as opposed to now.
    Hayes rookie year, 1965: 12 touchdowns, 46 catches, 1003
    yards, (That’s 21.8 YARDS per catcj!), 1ll in 14 games

  3. That mite be true, but a record is a record!! And you wanna point out that Bob Hayes did all he did in 14 games…. Well Lamb beat his record in just 11 games!! And I’m sure if we had a competent QB the lady 5 or 6 weeks that record would have been broken games ago and I’m sure Ceedee Lamb would have broken more than just this one record by now too!! I’m not putting down Bob Hayes, but I have to say Ceedee is doing this with backup QBs and 3rd and 4th string QBs throwing him the ball!! You can’t deny how good Lamb is!!

  4. It is indeed a passing league now more so then it has ever been, and different eras have to be judged in the proper context. But cowboys fan is right, if Dak were here all season no telling what Lamb’s stats would look like. Dalton while competent is more of a dink and dunk QB and rarely creates explosive plays downfield or puts his WRs in a position to get big plays. Most of the guady stats from these WRs were acquired the 1st five games under Dak. Like Fatfan said Wrs often take time to adjust to the NFL. But Lamb seemed to be advanced in that regard from the get go and his physical gifts are off the charts.

  5. I really have to say that the sky’s the limit with this kid. Even going back to his college days the yac yards are incredible! I truly believe that if Jerry Jones knew Ceedee was going to be available Amari Cooper wouldn’t have gotten that contract. Ceedee has all the tools to be an elite Wr on any team in any league. He’s breaking records with a very unstable QB position to say the least. Can you imagine what his numbers would be like if Dak didn’t get hurt? I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do next year with a healthy offense. He seemed to catch on really quick going from college to the NFL and no preseason. He’s only gonna get better! This kid has all the talent in the world. We are lucky to have him!

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