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NFL 2012 Statistical Recap

The end of the NFL regular season is way bigger for me than the Super Bowl – it’s the finalizing of another collection of great seasons to go down in NFL history. Here’s a recap of all the notable Rushing, Receiving, and Passing seasons of 2012.


RUSHING – 1,300 Yard Club

It obviously starts with Adrian Peterson’s remarkable year, all the more amazing considering major knee surgery on December 24, 2011. His 2,097 yards were only 8 away from breaking Dickerson’s 1984 record, and now lies as the 2nd best rushing total all-time, besting Jamal Lewis’ 2003 season of 2,066 yards. AP averaged 6.026/carry, making him just the 4th RB in history to rush for at least 1,500 yards while averaging 6 yds/carry or better. The others: OJ (1973, 6.0), Barry (1997, 6.1), and Jim Brown (1963, 6.4). This was AP’s 4th 1,300 yard season, making him the 20th player to have at least 4 such seasons. The leaders are Walter & Barry with 9. Quick note – Barry only played 10 seasons, and was averaging 100 yds/gm in 1993 when he was injured and missed the last 5 games of the year (final 1993 tally: 1,115 yards in 11 gms).

OTHER NOTABLE RUSHING SEASONS: Redskins rookie Alfred Morris finished 2nd at 1,613 yards, the 3rd most ever by a rookie (Dickerson #1, George Rodgers #2). His yardage total is the 48th best all-time, right behind Priest Holmes in 2002 and above Walter in 1979. He and fellow rookie Doug Martin of Tampa Bay became just the 17th & 18th rookies to run for 1,300+ yards (Martin’s 1,454 yards the 10th highest rookie total). Marshawn Lynch also had a big year, posting 1,590 yards (53rd highest) at a 5.1/carry clip, becoming the 29th player in history to post 1,300+ yards at 5 yards or better per carry. Jamal Charles posted his 2nd career 1,300+ season with 1,509 at 5.3/carry. His other 1,300+ was 1,467 yards in 2010 at a remarkable 6.4/carry. Finally, Arian Foster also posted his 2nd career 1,300 yarder with 1,424 and 15 TDs. His did it too in 2010, when he led the league with 1,616 and had 16 TDs.


RECEIVING – 1,200 Yard Club

Calvin Johnson’s record-breaking 1,964 yards on 122 recs for a 16.1 avg (but just 5 TDs) dominates the discussion here, the 2nd straight year he’s led the league and now his 2nd yardage total inside the top 10 all-time (his 2011 total of 1,681 is now the 8th best ever). It’s his 3rd career 1,200+ yard season, making him the 31st player to have at least 3 such seasons (1,331 yards in 2008). This marked the 5th time in the last 7 years that a Johnson has led the NFL in receiving yardage…2006: Chad; 2008 & ’09: Andre; 2011 & ’12: Calvin. Andre Johnson was 2nd this year with a monster total of 1,598, tied for 16th best ever with David Boston, who did it in 2001. The strange thing is, despite catching 234 balls for over 3,500 yards, the two Johnsons combined for just 9 trips to the endzone all year – quite low, though Andre has never had 10 TDs in a season in his career, surprisingly. It was Andre’s 4th 1,200+ year, with 3 of them inside the top 21 all-time.Brandon Marshall also had a big year, the most receiving yards in Chicago Bear history with 1,508 yards on 118 recs. His yardage total (a career best) lies at #29 all-time, and marks his 4th career 1,200+ season. Denver’s Demaryius Thomas exploded onto the scene in his 3rd year, posting 1,434 yards on 94 catches (15.3) with 10 TDs. This ties him with Don Maynard (1967) for the 48th best yardage total, just ahead of Chad Johnson’s 1,432 in 2005. There were 6 other 1,200+ seasons, all of them at 1,350 or better and lying inside the top 103 all-time. Vince Jacksonof Tampa – his 1st ever…1,384 at an impressive 19.2/rec; Dez Bryant of Dallas – 1st ever…1,382 with 12 TDs; Reggie Wayne – 1,355. This was Wayne’s 6th 1,200+ season, one of just 5 players to post that many – Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, and Randy Moss are the others. Wayne is a borderline Hall-of-Famer. Wes Welker – 3rd 1,200+ season…1,354 on 118 catches, amazingly just his 3rd highest single-season rec total; Roddy White of Atlanta – 5th time over 1,200!!…1,351 with 7 TDs on 88 catches. Finally, 2nd year Cincy WR AJ Green joined the 1,200 Club with 1,350 and 11 TDs. 

FYI – This is just the 3rd year in history that 10 players have passed 1,300 yards receiving, 1995 and 2000 being the others. It’s the first time ever that 10 players have had at least 1,350 yards.


PASSING – 4,000/30 Club

Four future Hall-of-Famers padded their resumes nicely this year as Brees, Rodgers, Brady, and Manning (Peyton) all posted over 4,000 yards and more than 30 TDs. It started with Drew Breesachieving the 3rd 5,000 yard season of his career – 5,177 yards (3rd most ever). There have only been 6 such seasons in NFL history, and he owns half of them! He added 43 TDs, making this the 5th straight year he’s posted 4,000+/30+…no one’s ever done that (5X in a row). Brees has a ridiculous 10,653 yards and 89 TDs in just the last two seasons…WOW! Another living legend QB who has at least 5 such 4,000/30 seasons is Peyton Manning, who has more than anyone in NFL history – 7 now after throwing for 4,659 yards and 37 TDs in his amazing comeback 2012 season. There have only been 48 seasons of 4,000 yards & 30 TDs in history, giving him 14.6% of them…impressive, to say the least. Tom Brady notched his 3rd 4K/30 year with 4,827 yards and 34 touchdowns. The last and youngest of the future Hall-of-Famers is Aaron Rodgers, who also posted his 3rd 4,000/30 season with 4,295 yards and 39 TDs. This comes on the heels of last season’s 4,643 & 45 TDs when he sat out the last game…and Matt Flynn went nuts, scoring himself a nice fat contract so he could hold a clipboard all season in Seattle. We had one new QB join the elite 4,000/30 Club (only 22 members now), Matt Ryan of the Falcons. Ryan threw for 4,719 yards and 32 TDs in leading Atlanta to the best record in the NFC. 

OTHER NOTABLE PASSING SEASONS: Matt Stafford threw for 4,967 yards, the 7th most in history, giving him the 6th & 7th best totals (2011: 5,038 yds, 41 TDs). Tony Romo, who has 2 4,000/30 seasons (2007, ’11), threw for 4,903 yards this year, the 9th most ever, but fell short on the paydirt passes, garnering only 28 TDs. The 5 guys who hit the 4,000/30 mark this season were the only guys to have 30+ TDs. Andrew Luck’s rookie record of 4,374 yards lies as the 48th best yardage total ever, while fellow rookie Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s rookie record with 26 TDs.

FYI – 30 TDs is far more rare than 4,000 yards. There have been 110 seasons of 4,000 yards, just 80 of at least 30 TDs. But going up by 10%, things even out a bit. There have been just 44 seasons of 4,400 yards or more, 43 seasons of at least 33 TDs.


Future Hall-of-Famers……….Playing right now.

Mortal Locks

QB — Peyton, Brady, Brees, Rodgers


WR/TE — Calvin, Moss, Gonzo (TE)

Making a Case/Borderline

QB — Eli, Big Ben (definitely ‘no’ for me right now)

RB — Steven Jackson, Frank Gore (‘no’), Michael Turner (‘no’), Chris Johnson (‘not yet’ – 20% chance), Mo Jo Drew (‘not yet’ – 15% chance), Lynch (already 73rd on all-time yardage, just 26 yrs old, needs 3 more yrs within 10-12% of 2012 totals).

WR — R Wayne (‘yes’), W Welker (‘yes’ – top 3 slot WR all-time), Jason Witten, Andre Johnson (‘yes’), Roddy White (‘no’ at this point, but at 30 might have 2 more nice yrs), Larry Fitzgerald (lack of QB in Zona hurting him big-time), Steve Smith (23rd all-time yards list, 55th TD list, seven 1,000 yd seasons, three 1,200 yarders – all 1,394 or better including league-leading 1,563 – #23 all-time – in 2005. A true play-maker, exciting athlete to watch.)


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