From rookie quarterbacks to the oldest signal caller in the league, new records were achieved throughout the 2017 NFL season.
Over the course of the season, there was some tremendous highs and disappointing lows. Some players outdid themselves and set new personal high marks. Meanwhile, other players and teams that did not perform so well put up some sad stats themselves.
Defensively, a handful of NFL teams really made their marks. So much so, those strong defensive accomplishments helped inch their teams to the playoffs.
As we look ahead to the NFL Playoffs, here are some amazing stats that were accomplished during the regular 2017 season.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s mind-blowing numbers
A blockbuster midseason trade sent this former New England Patriots backup quarterback to San Francisco where was nothing short of amazing. Right off the bat, Garoppolo tallied more passing yards (1,250) in his first four starts as a 49er than Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young combined.
Garoppolo’s 2017 season is done, but his five straight wins are as much as the 49ers produced in their previous 34 games before he took over under center. The 49ers would be wise to lock their gem of a quarterback up long term here soon.
Philadelphia Eagles defying huge odds
Prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season, the odds for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl were 40-to-1, according to a report by Pro Football Talk. This is quite incredible. The Eagles are not there yet, but they won the NFC East and secured home-field advantage along with a first-round bye.
Quarterback Carson Wentz had a fabulous sophomore season, which largely helped the Eagles get where they are. Though, his season-ending ACL injury in Week 14 was the last thing the team needed. We’ll now have to see if the Eagles can continue to defy the odds with backup Nick Foles under center.
Jacksonville’s sack-breaking record
There is a reason Jacksonville earned the nickname “Sacksonville” in 2017. The team recorded an incredible 55 sacks during the season. Even better, the Jaguars become the first team in NFL history to post multiple double-digit sack games in the first seven weeks of a season. In Week 1, the Jags tallied 10 sacks against the Houston Texans. Then in Week 7, Sacksonville struck again against the Indianapolis Colts.
Veteran defensive end Calais Campbell (signed in free agency) led the Jags with a career-high 14.5 sacks. Now the team will head to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Deshaun Watson breaks legendary record
The Houston Texans lost a wonderful gem when rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL prior to Week 9. But Watson’s accomplishments on the field were enough to break an NFL record previously held by Hall of Famer Kurt Warner.
Before his injury, Watson threw 19 touchdowns in seven games. This makes for the most passing touchdowns accomplished by a quarterback in his first seven games. Warner was on record for 18 passing touchdowns in his first seven games.
Saints’ two-headed running back monster
The addition of rookie running back Alvin Kamara in the third round of last year’s draft did nothing to cramp running back Mark Ingram’s style. Instead, it boosted the Saints rushing offense to a No. 5 ranking. The Saints averaged 129.4 rushing yards per game at a pace of 4.7 yards per carry. They also led the league with 23 rushing touchdowns.
Here is the breakdown: Kamara had 728 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Ingram put up a career-best 1,124 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.
Plus, the two backs combined for 139 receptions, amounting to 1,242 receiving yards and five receiving scores. Ingram’s and Kamara’s efforts helped the Saints run a well-balanced offensive attack that boosted the team to the postseason.
Todd Gurley’s yards
This MVP hopeful will not take a backseat to anyone. The third-year running back racked up yards and touchdowns at a ridiculous pace in 2017. It is no wonder the Rams had such a stellar bounce-back regular season.
Gurley put up 1,305 rushing yards and 13 scores on the ground during the regular season. He also added 788 receiving yards and six scores through the air to finish the season with 2,093 total yards and 19 scores. We must also mention Gurley accomplished this in 15 games after having sat out in Week 17 to rest.
Rams go from worst to first
Gurley’s stunning accomplishments help lead us to our next amazing stat. The Los Angeles Rams became the first team in NFL history to follow up a league-worst scoring offense with the most points in the NFL the following season. Back in 2016, Los Angeles ranked dead last at 14 points per game. In 2017, the Rams came in at No. 1 overall, averaging nearly 30 points per contest.
Obviously those 19 touchdowns of Gurley’s helped out. But, quarterback Jared Goff deserves a ton of credit. He was easily one of the most-improved players of the season. Goff finished 2017 with 3,804 passing yards which was 10th best in the league. He also scored 29 total touchdowns. It is no wonder the Rams are playoff-bound after winning the NFC West.
Russell Wilson had more rushing yards than…
Speaking of quarterbacks, Wilson does it all. The quarterback led Seattle with 586 rushing yards and three scores, averaging 5.9 yards per attempt. For comparison’s sake, Wilson rushed for 151 more yards than Carolina Panthers rookie first-round pick, running back Christian McCaffrey. He also out-gained Ameer Abdullah who managed only 552 yards for the Lions.
While Wilson’s rushing stats are stunning, the Seahawks really must find a solution to keep him in the pocket next season. No quarterback should be leading his team in the rushing department.
Ravens pitch three shutouts
The Ravens are only one of five NFL teams to force three shutouts in one season in the last 30 years. In Week 1, Baltimore shut down the Cincinnati Bengals 20-0. The next shutout came when the Ravens beat the Miami Dolphins 40-0 on Thursday Night Football in Week 8. Lastly, the Ravens pitched another shutout against the Green Bay Packers in Week 11, 23-0.
It’s worth noting that three of the previous four teams that accomplished this feat went on to win the Super Bowl, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Unfortunately, that will not be the case for the Ravens after they fell to Cincinnati in Week 17.
Devonta Freeman joins history
Freeman thrives on Monday Night Football. According to Elias, Freeman became only the third player in NFL history to post at least 190 scrimmage yards — two seasons in a row — on Monday Night Football. Freeman tallied 194 total yards in Week 15 on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last year in his Monday night game, Freeman totaled 207 yards against the New Orleans Saints. He joins Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith in this elite company.
Colts know how to blow it
The Colts’ loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 15 marked the fifth time this season the team blew a double-digit lead. According to Elias Sports, this is the most such losses an NFL team has accomplished since 1998 when the Colts blew five other double-digit leads. That was the year the Colts drafted quarterback Peyton Manning.
Alex Smith highest-rated quarterback and Pro-Bowl snub
Smith finished out his 2017 season with a 104.7 quarterback rating. This is the highest rating among the league’s starting quarterbacks. But, beating the likes of Drew Brees (103.9) and Tom Brady (102.8) apparently did nothing to help Smith’s case for a Pro Bowl selection.
Smith was snubbed and is merely a first alternate at this point. We will have to follow the Chiefs’ path through the playoffs to see what exactly is in store for Smith in regards to suiting up as an alternate. But one thing that is for sure, Smith surely deserved a nod.
DeAndre Hopkins torches NFL with 13 touchdowns
Hopkins finished his 2017 season with a career-best and league-high 13 receiving touchdowns. His touchdowns also make for a Texans franchise record. Previously, Hopkins held the Texans record with 11 touchdowns.
Often underrated, Hopkins is one of the most-talented receivers in the league. He finds incredible ways to score no matter who is at quarterback for the Texans. Since being drafted by Houston in 27th overall in 2013, Hopkins has played with 11 different quarterbacks. Just this season alone, Hopkins caught passes from four quarterbacks.
Talk about dealing with some brutal adversity.
Julio Jones owns Tampa Bay
Jones is a tremendous receiver who we wonder isn’t targeted more. Nonetheless, Jones particularly shines when he squares off against the Buccaneers.
Jones has tallied a ridiculous 1,359 receiving yards in his 11 games against Tampa Bay. This handy number averages to 123.5 yards per game. And, according to Elias Sports Bureau, it makes for the most yards by a player tallied against any single team in NFL history. The Bucs have clearly been at Jones’ mercy since he was drafted sixth overall in 2011.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick make new history
Okay. We know about the incredible five Super Bowl rings this pair has accomplished. But Dec. 11, 2017 marked Brady’s 250th regular season game with Belichick. This is the most games any player has ever played under one NFL head coach, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Brady turned 40 last August and says he plans to play possibly into his mid-40’s. As long as Brady sticks around, it’s pretty clear Belichick will too. This should ensure their record remains untouched for a very long time.
Jarvis Landry leads NFL in receptions
Surprisingly, this honor did not go to the aforementioned Julio Jones or DeAndre Hopkins. Instead, Landry led the league in this category. Despite getting ejected from his final game in Week 17, Landry tallied a league-high 112 receptions. Overall, the fourth-year wideout drew 161 targets which represented the fifth-most in the league. His receptions also marked a personal career high.
We point this out because the Dolphins have not exactly been the pillar of stability in the passing department. Landry caught passes from the much maligned Jay Cutler and backups Matt Moore as well as David Fales in 2017.