Demaryius Thomas has received a lot of flack this season, and deservedly so; his drops have, quite potentially, cost the Denver Broncos wins and a shot at the No. 1 seed — it’d be in their hands right now had they beat either the Raiders or Steelers.

But, get this straight, Demaryius Thomas is not a bad wide receiver.

In fact, Demaryius Thomas is a great wide receiver, fully deserving of the contract he was given and the accolades he’s received. And this Sunday, when DT catches his first 13 yards of the game, he’ll become just the fourth receiver in NFL history to have four consecutive seasons of 90 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards. The other three players in that group are Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt and Jerry rice

Pretty good, huh?

But it goes further than that. Already, with 100 receptions on the season, DT has assured himself that this 2015 season — one that has largely been criticized by Broncos fans — will go down as one of the 10 greatest receiving seasons in franchise history. And if he can get five more receptions against the Chargers this weekend, something he’s done in 13 of 15 games, he’ll catch over 105 receptions for just the third time in Broncos history, joining himself (2014) and Rod Smith (2001).

And let’s just say DT has an average game this weekend and finishes with 7 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. That would put him at 107 receptions, 1,266 yards and six touchdowns. Only 22 players in NFL history have ever accomplished those numbers in a single season, and DT would be one of only seven to accomplish it at least twice — Antonio Brown, Marvin Harrison, Jerry Rice, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Wes Welker.

So safe to say, Demaryius Thomas is not only have a historic season, but he’s in the midst of one of the greatest runs in NFL history.

And just to lay this out there for everyone who criticized the two contracts: I don’t see Dez Bryant‘s name anywhere near these marks …

Now, I’m sure a lot of you will throw out the quarterback argument; the argument that Thomas’ numbers look better than guys like Bryant’s because DT got to play with Peyton Manning for four years, and I’ll respond with this: If you want to write off DT’s production over the last four years as a product of his quarterback (which is completely unfair), then you have to give him all the credit in the world for putting up historically great numbers this season with a dysfunctional, to say the least, quarterback situation.

I’m not trying to reignite the flames, but Manning does still lead the NFL in interceptions (he hasn’t played in six weeks) and Brock Osweiler is a first-year starter who went three straight second halves with out initiating a scoring drive; the fact that he is on the verge of surpassing 105 receptions and 1,200 yards should be seen as a minor miracle.

Likewise, those who commonly criticize Demaryius Thomas point to Emmanuel Sanders and say, “That’s the Broncos true No. 1 wideout.”

My question, though, is why doesn’t anyone criticize Sanders’ drop off from last season?

If Sanders keeps pace through Week 17 (accounting for his missed game in Week 11, too) he’d finish the season with 81 receptions (20% decrease), 1,184 yards (16% decrease) and seven touchdowns (23% decrease); that would be right on par with Thomas’ 107 receptions (9% decrease), 1,266 (22% decrease) and six touchdowns (45% decrease).

Again, why hasn’t Sanders received the same backlash? Well, yeah, the drops play a part, but mostly because people understand that Sanders is no longer playing in an other-worldly offense that prints statistics off each week; the same has to be said for DT.

So as the Denver Broncos prepare to enter the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, let’s choose to rely on Demaryius Thomas because he’s not only the best receiver we’ve got; he’s the best we’ve ever had.