Roddy White’s final reception in the Falcons’ 19-17 win over the Panthers on Sunday went for 11 yards and moved Atlanta onto the Panthers’ side of the field with just under five minutes to play.
A handful of plays later, Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant connected on a 44-yard field goal that ultimately wound up being the difference in a 19-17 win.
Lost in the urgency of the game-winning drive was that White’s 11-yard catch also put the veteran wideout over 10,000 yards — 10,002 to be exact — receiving for his career.
“10,000 yards, it’s great, it’s a good achievement,” said White, who finished the game with a team-high eight receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. “Some of the guys came over and gave me a nice hug, so it’s good. But to win is more gratifying.
“I would rather win the division and go to the playoffs and things like that than any kind of individual achievement,” White continued. “But it’s a good achievement and it speaks volumes about going out there and playing consistent football for the last 10 years.”
White’s voice grew a decibel louder and a bit sharper when he reached the “last 10 years.” portion of his explanation.
White, 33, entered Sunday needing 73 yards to become the 42nd player in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard plateau. He entered his 10th season as the Falcons’ all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
Former Pro Bowler Terance Mathis ranks second in team history with 7,349 receiving yards while Alfred Jenkins (6,267) ranks third.
Falcons’ second-year cornerback Desmond Trufant, who recorded a key third-quarter interception in Sunday’s win, had some nice words to say about the player he does battle with on a regular basis on the practice field.
“That’s a huge honor for him,” said Trufant. “He’s one of the best to ever do it. He’s definitely going to be a Hall of Famer in my book now. It’s a privilege to go against a guy like him every day in practice. I’m happy for him.”
When Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan first took his place at the podium following Sunday’s win, he wanted to make one thing clear before taking any questions.
“Before we get started, I just want to say how proud I am of Roddy for passing the milestone that he has,” he said. “Certainly he’s shown great longevity throughout his career and has made a huge impact on my own career, so (I) couldn’t be happier for him. Now he’s got to get to 11,000.”