% Drew Brees, of the New Orleans Saints, broke Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single season, throwing for 5,476 yards in 2011. Marino’s record—5,084 yards—stood for 27 years, making Brees’ achievement significant, despite statements from detractors that changes to the game, and to the physicality of players, over the past two decades made it easier for Marino’s record to fall.
% QB Stud Awards:
& In addition to breaking Marino’s mark, Brees also set the records for: the most games in a single season with 300+ passing yards (13); the most consecutive games with 300+ passing yards (7) and the highest completion percentage for a season (71.2%).
& However, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has bragging rights, too, setting the records for the most consecutive games with a 100+ passer rating (12) and the highest cumulative passer rating for a season (122.5).
& Finally, though it was mostly a 2010 feat, New England’s Tom Brady set a record for most consecutive passes without an interception, with 358. His streak began on October 24, 2010 and ended on September 12, 2011.
% Rookie Passing Records: First-year sensation Cam Newton set two records for rookies, throwing for the most yards in his first game (422 against the Arizona Cardinals) and in a season (4,051 yards). Newton also set the record for rushing touchdowns in a single season by a quarterback, with fourteen.
% Most Combined Passing Yards in a Single Game: accomplished yesterday by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, who threw for 520 yards, and Green Bay’s back-up QB Matt Flynn, who threw for 480 yards. Yep, that’s a combined total of 1,000 yards!
% Comebacks: The Detroit Lions set a record for biggest consecutive comeback wins by overcoming deficits of 20+ points two weeks in a row (20 points against the Minnesota Vikings and 24 points against the Dallas Cowboys).
% Offensive Records: The New Orleans Saints were the league studs on offense this year, breaking the single-season records for: most yards gained (7,474); passing yards (5,347); and first downs (416).
% An Offensive Record: The Oakland Raiders set records for the most penalties, and yards penalized, by a team in a single season. Their season-end totals were 163 penalties for a total of 1,358 yards. If it were any other team, I would expect them to be embarrassed, especially since this may have cost them a shot at the playoffs. However, the Raiders might actually be proud of this one.
% Jack of All Trades: New Orleans running back Darren Sproles broke the record for the most all-purpose yards in a single season with 2,969. This includes running, catching and kick returns.
% Receiving Yards by a Tight End in a Single Season: set by New England’s Rob Gronkowski, with 1,327 yards.
% Longest Field Goal (tied): accomplished by the Oakland Raiders’ Sebastian “Sea Bass” Janikowski, who kicked a 63-yard field goal in the thin air of Denver against the Broncos on September 12th. The seasoned veteran also tied the record for the most field goals of 50+ yards in a single game, with three (for 54, 55 and 50 yards) against the Houston Texans on October 9th.
% Most Field Goals in a Single Season: Pro Bowler David Akers (San Francisco), who nailed forty-four.
% Longest Kick Return (tied): 108 yards, by Green Bay’s Randall Cobb during the season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
% Punt Returns for TDs in a Single Season: tied by Arizona’s Patrick Peterson who ran four back for scores in 2011.
% Punt Returns for TDs in a Career: set by Chicago’s Devin Hester, who has done it 12 times.
% Epic Field Goal Battle: On September 26, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys tied the record for the most field goals scored in a single game with nine; three by the ‘Skins and six by the ‘Boys.
% The League can give itself a collective pat on the back too; all of the teams set a record for the most field goals of 50+ yards in a single season, with NINETY!
Congrats to all the record holders for 2011 (except, maybe, for the Raiders). Let’s see what you got in 2012!
*Note: If a record was broken more than once during the season, I’ve only posted the ultimate record-holder (i.e., the player that broke it most recently).
By the way, if you want to learn more about NFL history, and you can't get enough of lists, check out our 100th post, which featured NFL records involving the number 100!