Wes Welker sets NFL mark

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker became the first player in NFL history with five seasons of 100 or more catches when he corralled his fifth catch of the evening in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

Welker broke a record he previously shared with Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and current Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who each have four seasons of 100 or more catches.

Welker has finished three of his first five seasons with the Patriots with at least a share of the NFL lead in receptions and entered Week 15 trailing only Marshall and Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in receptions with 95.

Acquired in 2007 via an offseason trade, Welker already has set the Patriots franchise record for receptions, consecutive games with a reception, and ranks third in career receiving yards, trailing Troy Brown and Stanley Morgan.

Welker finished Sunday night's 41-34 loss with five catches for 56 yards.

Field Yates is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com.