Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson and others on pace to challenge some big NFL records


Records are meant to be broken. In the NFL, a whopping four of the biggest season-based records could be rewritten by the time the 2021 season ends.

While the 2021 season has 17 games for the first time — instead of the 16 of the past — some of the records could be broken even without the extra game on the schedule.

There’s no surprise that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is on the list, challenging Peyton Manning’s record for most passing yards in a season.

It’s not just records on offense either. Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has his eyes on Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record.

Let’s take a look at the four records that could be broken:

Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: Most passing yards in a season

Current record holder: Peyton Manning (5,477 yards in 2013)

Brady’s current average yards per game: 331.2 yards per game

Average needed to break it: 314 yards

Projected total: 5,631 yards

So far in 2021, Brady ranks in the top two in the league in total QBR, passing yards per game and touchdown passes, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

He has thrown for 2,650 yards in the first eight games of the season, with a season high of 432 against the Los Angeles Rams.

Brady, a 22-year veteran, could set personal-best marks this season. In 2011, he threw for 5,235 yards, averaging 327 yards per game. Brady had 25 touchdowns in the first half of this season and could eclipse his personal best of 50 touchdowns in 2007.


Record: Most receiving yards in a season

Current record holder: Calvin Johnson (1,964 yards in 2012)

Kupp’s current average yards per game: 113.2 yards per game

Average needed to break it: 118.1 yards

Projected total: 1,924 yards

Kupp has been Rams QB Matthew Stafford’s go-to receiver, and L.A. is 7-2 so far this season. Kupp and Jerry Rice are the only two receivers to record 1,000-plus receiving yards and 10 or more touchdowns through the first nine games of a season.

A third-round draft pick in 2017 by the Rams, Kupp has a league-high 74 catches for 1,019 yards, as well as 10 touchdowns.

When Kupp matches up against San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel on Monday Night Football this week, it will be the first matchup involving two players averaging at least 110 receiving yards per game in Week 7 or later in NFL history. Kupp’s share of the targets could change. On Thursday, the Rams announced they had signed free agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr.


Record: Most rushing yards by a QB in a season

Current record holder: Lamar Jackson (1,206 yards in 2019)

Jackson’s current average yards per game: 71 yards per game

Average needed to break it: 70.8 yards

Projected total: 1,207 yards

Jackson’s 2021 season is looking a lot like his prior two seasons. In 2019, he rushed for a record 1,206 yards, breaking Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards by a QB in a season. Jackson is the only QB to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season twice.

With 639 yards rushing through nine games, Jackson leads his team with the most rushing yards. Baltimore is 6-3 and 1st in the AFC North, and Jackson has either thrown or rushed for a touchdown in 45 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

In Week 9’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, Jackson recorded his 12th career 100-yard rushing game (including the postseason), which set an NFL record for quarterbacks. In his fourth NFL season, Jackson moved past Vick, who had 11 such games across his 13-year career. Jackson has produced 10 100-yard rushing games during the regular season, which ties Vick.

Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns

Record: Most sacks in a season

Current record holder: Michael Strahan (22.5 sacks in 2001)

Garrett’s current average sacks per game: 1.3 sacks per game

Average needed to break it: 1.3 sacks

Projected total: 22 sacks

One of the best — if not the best — pass-rushers in the AFC, Garrett not only leads the NFL in sacks with 12, but also tackles for loss (12) and sack yards (66).

Garrett has already surpassed his 2019 (10) and tied his 2020 sack total, just nine games into the 2021 season.

There’s a reason why Garrett went as the “Sack Reaper” for Halloween, after all.

ESPN Stats & Information research was used in this story.





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