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NFL experiencing record run of 400-yard passing games

Cam Newton, Austen Lane AP

NFL fans may some day be able to tell their children and grandchildren about a time when the 400-yard passing game was something truly special.

The year 2011 may go down as the season when that time ended.

The 400-yard passing game has become the norm, just another ho-hum passing number. With Eli Manning going for 420 yards and Matt Schaub going for 416 on Sunday, there have now been ten 400-yard passing games this season, by far the most ever through five weeks, and the fourth-most for any single season in NFL history.

There were thirteen 400-yard games in 1986 and in 2004, and eleven in 2010. The 2011 season could break the all-time record by next Sunday.

Yes, that’s right. There’s a real chance that by Week Six of 2011, we’ll have seen more 400-yard passing days in one season than we had ever seen in any one season in NFL history.

There are a lot of explanations floated for this, ranging from a wealth of talented quarterbacks and wide receivers, to rules changes, to the lockout having defenses playing catchup this year. But there’s little doubt that by the end of this year, we’ll have seen more 400-yard passing games than in any previous season.

Maybe twice as many as in any previous season.

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37 Responses to “NFL experiencing record run of 400-yard passing games”
  1. deeboisgonnaeatyourkids says: Oct 10, 2011 12:37 PM

    We also may tell our grandchildren about a time when tackling was a part of football.

  2. failcopter says: Oct 10, 2011 12:38 PM

    And yet, 400 passing yards does not mean a win. Ask schaub or Newton.

  3. The Phantom Stranger says: Oct 10, 2011 12:38 PM

    How many will McNabb have?

  4. edukator4 says: Oct 10, 2011 12:39 PM

    im going to throw shoody tackling into the contributimg factors. rhere is a lot yac yards being accumulated due to bad form tackling by dbs and safeties

  5. worstposterever says: Oct 10, 2011 12:46 PM

    Wonder why… obviously this is a side effect of the rules changes.

  6. PFTiswhatitis says: Oct 10, 2011 12:48 PM

    Defensive backs have no chance anymore. Change the rules back.

  7. pappysarcasm says: Oct 10, 2011 12:52 PM

    It’s a disgrace and s shame, no matter what the skirts at PFT think!

  8. hay1111 says: Oct 10, 2011 12:55 PM

    I think the rule changes have been the biggest reason. Id hate tp play defense today because the rules dont allow it. Offense gets asses in the seats and viewers on tv.

  9. btg1911 says: Oct 10, 2011 12:55 PM

    Rule changes have marginalized the running game put defenses at a disadvantage. So many rubes just want to see passing that it’s made the rest of the game almost irrelevant.

    There should be more than one way to win and win consistantly, but the league is set up so the only way to win is to have a very high-end passing game.

    In a way, it makes the game very “cookie-cutter” and almost boring.

  10. PackersHome.com says: Oct 10, 2011 12:55 PM

    I preferred the NFL when 300 yards passing was an achievement, not expected. And now we’re seeing 400 yards and shrugging it off as if that is now expected.

  11. whoisgonnasing says: Oct 10, 2011 1:00 PM

    I think the defense should only be allowed 10 players, that’s the next step right Commish?

    Keep diluting the game… nice trajectory here.

  12. luckynumberlucas says: Oct 10, 2011 1:03 PM

    Well, this is what you get, if you have a lockout and rules like the current…

    DBs can’t touch, reroute, jam or push the WRs anymore, they can’t tackle them without getting fined.

    Slot receiver can work the middle of the field without the fear of getting decapitated by safeties, games played in controlled environments, on turf fields and so on…

    Its spectacular for most of the fans, the NFL wants touchdowns and highlights so its not really a surprise.

    American Football, RIP, 1874-2003.

  13. bertilfox says: Oct 10, 2011 1:03 PM

    All part of Goodell’s effort to change the sport to basketball on grass, in order for his puppeteers to exact more revenue from “the fans” whom he and they purport to care about.

    In the interim, Defensive Backs, and Defensive players in general, are just a bunch of @$$-clowns to be posterized by the glamour-boys, and then subsequently raped financially by the League for playing the game as it has heretofore always been played. Great job, Rog’.

  14. bigtimetexanfan says: Oct 10, 2011 1:03 PM

    Is wondering how many were in a losing effort, from sunday Eli and ” NO NUTS SHAUB” were for sure. Im willing to assume that most of the yards came late in the game when they were trailing.

  15. nesuperfan says: Oct 10, 2011 1:03 PM

    “But there’s little doubt that by the end of this year, we’ll have seen more 400-yard passing games than in any previous season…”

    By a lot.

  16. j0esixpack says: Oct 10, 2011 1:07 PM

    I don’t think there’s any doubt that the shortened offseason played a role in this

    Everyone came in out of gameshape and they’ve had limited time before and during the season to work out the kinks

    There’s been a rash of injuries and while we’ve seen that on both sides of the ball it seems like defenses are at a chronic disadvantage

    Let’s hope we don’t see more of the same with the new CBA limited workouts next season

  17. sakatak says: Oct 10, 2011 1:11 PM

    400 yard passing games are generally come from behind games, I bet most are in losing efforts. Maybe not such a great accomplishment. Yards come much easier against a prevent defense.

  18. Deb says: Oct 10, 2011 1:13 PM

    The kids in our family are being raised to appreciate the same kind of smashmouth football we love. They’re watching Alabama’s defense dominate in the NCAA, and THANK HEAVENS, they got to see Pittburgh’s defense and running game come out of mothballs on Sunday. The vertical game has its place. I enjoy a lovely downfield pass as much as anyone. But there is nothing as beautiful as watching your backs slam it down the throat of the other team, taking the field inch by inch, yard by yard.

  19. acgots says: Oct 10, 2011 1:14 PM

    I believe moving up the kickoff spot has a lot to do with it. With so many touchbacks teams have to go a further distance more often.

  20. nineroutsider says: Oct 10, 2011 1:45 PM

    I am sure it has already been pointed out, how many 400 yard performances have resulted in wins? I bet it is lower than 40%.

    I am glad my team doesn’t have one…

  21. scudbot says: Oct 10, 2011 1:50 PM

    Stats: W L

  22. steelerfan999 says: Oct 10, 2011 1:54 PM

    one of the mostoverrated stats in football .qb throws a ball 3 yards and the receiver gos 80 yards with it and the qb gets credit for all those yards.

  23. mrtzl20 says: Oct 10, 2011 2:28 PM

    Funny that with all the 400 yard games this season, PFT chooses to show a picture of a QB in a game in which he only threw for 158 against Jacksonville, the lowest single game total of his career. Nice choice.

  24. no1youzer says: Oct 10, 2011 2:33 PM

    Aaaaand how many of the TEN 400+ yd passing games this year went for wins?????

    THREE.

    Certainly the new rules are a huge factor, but maybe it’s also related to the over-paid, egos that tend to play the QB position???

  25. cowboyhater says: Oct 10, 2011 2:41 PM

    What sucks is that I should have seen this coming when drafting my fantasy football team, and went for a high pick QB, and WR’s and stop using the old school mindset of drafting RB’s.

  26. ckacv111 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:02 PM

    How many times did you say season in your post? That’s right, too many.

  27. clayton43 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:10 PM

    Is rediculous…400 will be the ” norm” or else you have a really bad QB. When throwing the ball 40 to 50 times a game…they should have that many yards unless they just suck. I dont get impressed by the numbers anymore.

  28. cornernum23 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:12 PM

    I don’t think I like this “400-yard” NFL very much…

  29. dazdillingeristhevoiceofreason says: Oct 10, 2011 3:25 PM

    Deb says:
    Oct 10, 2011 1:13 PM
    The kids in our family are being raised to appreciate the same kind of smashmouth football we love. They’re watching Alabama’s defense dominate in the NCAA, and THANK HEAVENS, they got to see Pittburgh’s defense and running game come out of mothballs on Sunday. The vertical game has its place. I enjoy a lovely downfield pass as much as anyone. But there is nothing as beautiful as watching your backs slam it down the throat of the other team, taking the field inch by inch, yard by yard.

    _______

    Are you talking about football or a Saturday night out with Big Ben?

  30. freewayjim says: Oct 10, 2011 3:39 PM

    There were FIVE 400 yard games in the entire decade of the 1970′s (and Joe Namath had two of them in 1972).

    The increase in this is partly due to the evolution of the game, there was a time, especially in the 70′s when teams would get behind and still run the ball.

    What we see now is that teams are less afraid to throw the ball than at any time in league history, add that to the skill at QB and QR with favorable passing rules and this is the result.

    I don’t see where this is a bad thing, TV ratings are up so people as a whole must like it.

    I watched NFL football in the 70′s, looking back, it sucked! So you cavemen who want to see 50 running plays (more than half up the middle) a game can go watch the Big 10 Conference and for the most part the SEC.

    Norm Van Brocklin’s record of 554 Yards was set in 1951 and still has yet to be broken so lets keep this in perpective.

  31. freewayjim says: Oct 10, 2011 3:40 PM

    WR* not QR

  32. mancave001 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:53 PM

    It’s not just tackling. I think defenses are especially horrible this year. Could be the rule changes…could be the lockout affected them more. But it’s pretty obvious. Look at 20 point 2nd half leads…they apparently no longer mean anything.

  33. drakost says: Oct 10, 2011 3:56 PM

    I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again the ball is juiced dammit. ;)

  34. Justified By God says: Oct 10, 2011 4:03 PM

    This is purely a result of the rule changes. There is no other cause.

  35. thejuddstir says: Oct 10, 2011 4:35 PM

    Every QB on every team should throw for record yards, after all, there’s absolutely no difference between their weekly practices and the “real game”, in practice they wear red throwovers so their defensive teammates can’t touch them, in the real game they change into skirts. Don’t tell me about the Brady’s, Mannings and Rodgers…….they couldn’t hold a candle to the great QB’s of the past. Today’s QB’s probably aren’t old enough to remember when DB’s could “bump and run”. Come on NFL……change the rules back, make it football again and not just entertainment.

  36. souldogdave says: Oct 10, 2011 5:12 PM

    Q.B’s and Receivers are in pink tutu’s, and you can go over the middle, and be “defenseless”and not get hit!Ronnie Lott could not play in today’s league.Same thing happened to the American Tae Kwon Do assoc. they turned into a ninja-turtle dance class.

  37. Deb says: Oct 10, 2011 5:24 PM

    dazdillingeristhevoiceofreason says:

    Deb says:

    The kids in our family are being raised to appreciate the same kind of smashmouth football we love. They’re watching Alabama’s defense dominate in the NCAA, and THANK HEAVENS, they got to see Pittburgh’s defense and running game come out of mothballs on Sunday. The vertical game has its place. I enjoy a lovely downfield pass as much as anyone. But there is nothing as beautiful as watching your backs slam it down the throat of the other team, taking the field inch by inch, yard by yard.

    _______

    Are you talking about football or a Saturday night out with Big Ben?

    ——————————————

    “Yard by yard.” Obviously I’m talking about football … and you have big fantasies about our QB. To each his own.

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