Every sport is going to have qualifications to be on the leader page. That way you don’t have one player who plays a quarter and leads a bunch of stats on one play. You would get someone throwing 40 yards per attempt. This makes sure things are even out and we are looking at players who are playing meaningful snaps. For the passing stats, a quarterback is going to need at least 14 pass attempts per game. For rushing stats, a player will need 6.25 rushing attempts per game. Wide receivers and tight ends will need a minimum of 1.8 receptions per game. If you are looking for field goal minimums, one field goal attempt per game is needed to qualify.
Best Passing Stats In A Single Season
We look at most passing seasons from the last 20 years and can pick plenty during a pass-happy era. Lamar Jackson just recently put together one of the top passing seasons, but also the stats on the ground tie into it. He threw 36 touchdowns and had a 66 completion percentage. Jackson threw 3,145 yards but also ranked last among starting quarterbacks in attempts. The Ravens were a run-first team, and he had 1,206 rushing yards of his own and seven touchdowns. Of course, Jackson’s season doesn’t end the same as some of the other quarterbacks within the section. Staying in more recent seasons, Pat Mahomes took the league by storm. He had over 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns. He completed over 65% of his passes and also added 272 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
There was a San Francisco era where the dynasties lasted between the passing of quarterback torches. Steve Young was a dual-threat option, and in 1994 he had just a shade under 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns. He completed 35 total touchdowns and had a 112 passer rating that season. Young also had 293 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. Young also won the Super Bowl that season and was the MVP for both the super bowl and of the league. A few years earlier, Joe Montana also completed 70% of his passes and had 3,500 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was the MVP of the league and the super bowl that year, which they also won. The 49ers duo had some stellar seasons in the bay area, and of course, had a lot of Super Bowls come with them.
Peyton Manning has put together some serious seasons in his career. The best coming in the 2013 season with the Denver Broncos. While he didn’t win the super bowl that season, he was MVP and offensive player of the year. This was also after neck surgery. Manning threw for 5,477 yards and had 56 total touchdowns. He completed 68% of his passes, and it was a strong run for Manning. His long time rival, Tom Brady, had a strong year in 2007 when he partnered with Randy Moss and nearly went undefeated. He had 4,800 yards and tossed 50 touchdowns. Brady completed 69% of his passes and had a 117 passer rating. Manning and Brady have had historic seasons, as Manning also had a few great ones with the Colts. We have also seen Drew Brees post some truly monster seasons as he also owns a lot of the passing records these days.
Dan Marino was ahead of his time a bit, as quarterbacks were not airing it out as much during this time. Marino had 48 touchdowns in 1984 and had over 500 passing yards. He had tough luck in the playoffs, going 14-2 that season but losing to the San Francisco 49ers. He was the league MVP and the offensive player of the year. In 1999, Kurt Warner led one of the top offenses of all time, in the St. Louis Rams. He had over 4,000 passing yards and over 40 passing touchdowns. He was the league MVP and won the super bowl MVP that season. Both Warner and Marino had fantastic seasons over the years, but these years highlight the rest.
Top Rushing Stats In A Single Season
We have seen many great rushing seasons over the years, and we can start with a few members of the 2000 yard season club. OJ Simpson did it in 1973 with the Buffalo Bills as he rushed for 2,003 yards and had 12 touchdowns. He did it on 332 carries, which averages out for six yards per carry. Simpson became the first person to rush for over 2000 yards in a single season. He also finished first in touchdowns and carries that season. 200-yard games were not rare for Simpson as he did it three times that season. Simpson ended up being the NFL MVP and brought home a few other trophies to his game. He also had a stellar 1975 season where he had 1,817 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns. He had more receiving yards this season going tor 427 yards. This was all done during 14 games as well. Simpson broke the all-time touchdown record that year.
The NFL saw back-to-back 2000 yard rushers in 1998 and 1997. Barry Sanders did it in 1997 where he had 2053 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Sanders averaged six yards per carry that season and had 335 total carries. He also had 33 receptions, going for 305 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Sanders is considered one of the top backs to ever play the game and this was a highlight year for the former Detroit back. A year later, Terrell Davis rushed for 2008 yards on 392 carries, averaging five yards per carry. Davis also was on a super bowl winning team, which makes the season all the sweeter. He won MVP that year and had three straight rushing titles.
LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 put together one of the all-time great seasons, and in an era where fantasy football fans were either jealous or greatly appreciative. Tomlinson produced 1815 yards and 28 touchdowns just on the ground. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry. He also had 56 catches for 508 yards and three scores. It does not stop there as Tomlinson also threw two touchdowns. He scored 186 total points, which is an NFL record. He won every award under the sun that season and also helped the Chargers win 14 games that season. This is coming off a year removed from Shaun Alexander setting the record for 28 touchdowns in a single season.
In 1958 Jim Brown rushed for 1527 yards and 17 touchdowns in just 12 games. The 12 games aspect of this season is what makes this an unreal season, another four games, and he is likely over 2,000 yards and 20 total touchdowns. Brown also added two more games onto his schedule in 1963 where he rushed for 1863 yards and 12 touchdowns. He rushed for over six yards per carry in both seasons. Sticking with some players in the 60s, Jim Taylor of the Green Bay Packers rushed for 19 touchdowns in just 14 games and had 1400 rushing yards to go with it. Gale Sayers in 1965 had 20 total touchdowns and over 1,300 all-purpose yards. Sayers had the receiving edge during this time where receiving stats among running backs was not all that common.
Best Receiving Stats In A Single Season
Hard not to talk about Randy Moss here, as he has had a couple of exceptional seasons in his lengthy career. The 2017 season where he had nearly 1500 yards on 98 catches with 23 touchdowns takes the cake. The Patriots finished 16-0 that season and that was his first season paired with Tom Brady. A former teammate, Chris Carter put together some strong seasons in Minnesota. He had 1371 yards and 17 touchdowns in 1995. Carter had 100 catches or more in three straight seasons during this period. A division rival in the year prior had one of the top seasons of all-time. Sterling Sharpe had 18 receiving touchdowns and 1,100 yards. During the Greatest Show on Turf, Issac Bruce had 13 touchdowns and 1,781 receiving yards. His sidekick, Torry Holt years later had a monster season with 10700 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.
When Dan Marino was airing it out in the 1980s, Mark Clayton was often on the other end of those passes. He had 18 touchdowns in 1984 and had nearly 1400 yards on just 73 catches. This was a disappointing end of the season as they lost to the San Francisco 49ers. Speaking of 49ers, Jerry Rice had plenty of seasons that could be listed here. Jerry Rice had 22 touchdowns on 65 catches in 1987. Rice continued his strong play for quite a while. Marvin Harrison in 2002 put together a big year with 1722 yards and 11 touchdowns. He held the record for touchdowns with 143 receptions. That is until Michael Thomas broke it in 2019. Julio Jones has been one of the more dominant names in football in the past decade. In 2015 he had 1871 receiving yards and 136 catches. He finished the season with eight touchdowns.
Antonio Brown had a couple of big years in the NFL. In 2015 he finished with over 1800 yards on 136 catches. He also had ten touchdowns. The year prior Brown finished with 1700 receiving yards, 129 catches, and 13 touchdowns. Giving the tight end some love, Rob Gronkowski posted 1300 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2011. He also had 90 catches on the year as this Patriots offense was unstoppable. Calvin Johnson was another Detroit Lion to retire early. He had his best season in 2012 where he had over 1900 yards and 122 catches. The downside to this season was that he had just five touchdowns.
NFL Stats Leaders FAQ
Who Led The NFL In Passing Yards?
Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans threw for 4,823 yards in 2020, which was the most of any quarterback in the NFL. He finished the year with 33 touchdowns as well and completed 70% of his passes. Despite Watson's success, Houston won just 4 games.
Who Led The NFL In Passing Touchdowns?
Aaron Rodgers had 48 passing touchdowns, which was the most in the NFL in 2020. Rodgers posted one of his best seasons in his Hall of Fame career and went onto win the 2020 NFL MVP. Rodgers also had 4,299 passing yards to go with those touchdowns.
Who Led the NFL In Rushing Attempts?
Derrick Henry led the league again in rushing attempts with 378. This is his second year in a row over 300 and he followed it up with another 2000+ yard season and 17 rushing touchdowns. Tennessee's offense largely revolves around Henry.
Who Led The NFL In Rushing Touchdowns?
Derrick Henry had another monster year with over 2,000 rushing yards but he also led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns. He has scored double-digit touchdowns in back-to-back years and is one of the most dominant backs in the league currently.
What Tight End Had The Most Receiving Touchdowns?
Travis Kelce had 11 receiving touchdowns, which was tied four 5th in the league but led all tight ends. Kelce had a career year and continues to be one of the more electrifying pass-catchers at the tight end position. He also had over 1,400 receiving yards.
How Many Players Have Rushed For 2000 Yards?
Only seven players in NFL history have rushed for over 2000 yards. Barry Sanders, Derrick Henry, Terrell Davis, O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Jamal Lewis, and Chris Johnson are the names that have rushed for over 2000 yards in a single NFL season.