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Top 5 catches of Terry McLaurin's career

The Washington Commanders have officially extended wide receiver Terry McLaurin, and there are 222 reasons why that was a good move for the franchise.

That's how many catches McLaurin has made as he enters his fourth season. The stat is impressive in its own right, but McLaurin, who is already 15th on the franchise's career receiving yards list, is also the first in team history to reach that mark in just three seasons.

It's impossible to name every spectacular catch that McLaurin has made in that span, but has listed five that stand out among the rest.

Week 1, 2019: McLaurin grabs his first touchdown

There weren't many expectations for McLaurin as he entered the league. Many analysts saw him as someone who would contribute more on special teams rather than become a starting receiver.

McLaurin quickly shut down those notions.

The score was 10-0 against the Philadelphia Eagles in Washington's favor when the team took over on downs at its own 29-yard line. After handing the ball off for a two-yard gain, Case Keenum launched a pass to McLaurin, who had a few steps on an Eagles defender at the opponent's 25-yard line.

McLaurin hauled in the catch with ease and finished the play in the end zone for a 69-yard score. The game ended in a loss, but the touchdown was the first of seven he made as a rookie and 16 over three seasons.

Week 14, 2019: McLaurin gets a one-handed score in Green Bay

McLaurin's focus when making catches has always been one of his strengths in the NFL. Fans got one of their first examples of that in 2019 against the Green Bay Packers.

Washington was in need of a big play to help them climb back from a 20-9 deficit. The offense, led by Dwayne Haskins, Jr., had moved down to the 13-yard line with under two minutes left. As Haskins dropped back, he saw that McLaurin had gotten a sliver of separation against his defenders and was headed for the end zone.

Haskins reared his arm back and fired, and just as the safety closed the gap, McLaurin reached his left hand behind his head and secured the pass before falling to his knees.

It was the sixth score of the season for McLaurin and the first in seven games. And while McLaurin has made several acrobatic catches, few have been as impressive.

Week 7, 2020: McLaurin beats Trevon Diggs to extend Washington's lead

There were 10 minutes left in the second quarter during Washington's Week 7 game against the Cowboys in 2020, and McLaurin was on the receiving end of some trash talk from cornerback Trevon Diggs.  

Diggs, taken by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2020 draft, has an impressive skill set. He has a knack for grabbing interceptions, which is a trait he put on full display by leading the league with 11 in 2021.  

He also tends to give up chunks of yardage, and McLaurin took advantage of that on the next play. 

Lined up at the top of the formation, McLaurin blew past Diggs and got behind the secondary, giving Kyle Allen an easy target as he lobbed the ball downfield. McLaurin, who had five yards of separation on Diggs, made the catch for a 52-yard touchdown, putting Washington up 15-3. 

Diggs didn't do much talking after that.

Week 4, 2021: McLaurin fights for his second touchdown against Atlanta

Week 4's matchup between Washington and the Atlanta Falcons was an all-around outstanding performance for McLaurin. He finished the game with six receptions for 123 yards, which was a season-high, to go with two touchdowns.

Of the two scores, the second was arguably the most impressive.

Trailing by eight points, Washington was set up at the Falcons' 17-yard line. After scrambling to avoid a sack, Taylor Heinicke heaved the ball to the end zone as he fell to the turf. The ball floated in the air for about four seconds, giving McLaurin enough time to wrestle away from his defender and make the catch.

The play was exactly what Washington needed to get back in the game. It brought the team within two points of tying the score, and two drives later Washington took the lead for good to get to 2-2 on the year.

Week 1, 2021: McLaurin shows rare focus with a sideline catch

It might be the greatest catch McLaurin has ever made.

Washington was facing a third-and-4 from the Los Angeles Chargers' 46-yard line when Heinicke slung the ball in McLaurin's direction. McLaurin, who was open down the left sideline, saw the ball coming his way but didn't clock the safety who was bearing down on him.

The pass was behind McLaurin, so he had to lean back and hope that he could secure it before falling out of bounds. At the same time, the safety leapt over him to bat the ball away and force Washington to punt.

The safety timed the leap correctly, but the ball slipped through his hands and into McLaurin's, who at this point was in midair. McLaurin's knee landed in bounds, placing the ball at Chargers' 11-yard line and setting up a touchdown from Logan Thomas one play later.

It was the latest, and possibly best example of how McLaurin always finds a way to make the catch, regardless of the circumstances.

The Washington Commanders and Terry McLaurin have agreed to a contract extension. Here are the top photos from McLaurin's 2021 season. (Emilee Fails, Karlee Sell/Washington Commanders)

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