Way back on October 4 — one day after the NFL’s Week 4 had wrapped up — we examined the state of the NFL quarterback and uncovered some staggering statistics about just how many were on track to crack the once sanct 4,000-yard single-season passing mark. Eighteen quarterbacks were on target for 4,000 yards, which would have shattered the single-season record for such passers in a season (10 in 2011 and 2009). On the eve of Thanksgiving, let’s look at the less mind-blowing, yet more accurate sample size.
With bye weeks over and two-thirds of the season in the books, 17 quarterbacks are on pace for 3,800 yards, 13 of whom are looking to clip 4,000. That’s down from 20 and 18 respectively on October 4. That much was to be expected, but here are some other tidbits from the updated list.
Zero QBs are on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards.
Thanks to strong starts, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning were all on pace to accomplish the feat done only six times before — only three times prior to last season. Flacco and Manning have hit slumps and aren’t even looking to throw for 4,500 and though Brees is second from the top, he is only on pace for 4,906. The leader, Matt Ryan, is on pace to fall 85 yards short.
However, four QBs are still on pace to finish in the top 10 passing season of all-time.
Despite the fact that no one is threatening the 5,000 yard mark, four QBs are still on pace to finish in the top 10 of all-time. The No. 10 passing season ever is Matt Schaub’s 2009 campaign, whose 4,770 yards are eclipsed only by nine other seasons ever. Right now, Ryan, Brees, Carson Palmer, and Matt Stafford would pass that, with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning coming within eight and 10 yards, respectively. Not bad.
Only one rookie remains from the four back on Oct. 4. His name is Andrew Luck.
It might take years to end the Luck vs. RGIII debate, if it ever does. Most would argue Griffin is having the better overall season, but the numbers say Luck has been the stronger passer so far. He’s on pace for 4,744 yards, which would put him seventh on this list and give him the strongest rookie campaign — in terms of passing yards — ever. As expected Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden fell off the 4,000-yard list, and Russell Wilson is still nowhere to be found.
Things cooled down a bit between Week 4 and Week 11, but surprise surprise: This is still the Age of the Quarterback. Of course, you didn’t need me to tell you that. These numbers sell themselves.
[NFL.com, Getty Images]