With the NFL season coming to a close on Sunday, several players are on the verge of earning top spots in the NFL Record and Fact Book for their performances in 2012. Let’s take a moment to appreciate some record-setting performances this season.
First, here are some single-season records that have already been broken this year:
Most receiving yards: Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has 1,892 yards this season, topping the old record of 1,848, set by Jerry Rice in 1995. On Sunday we’ll see whether Johnson can be the first player in NFL history to top 2,000 receiving yards.
Most 50-yard field goals: Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh broke the NFL record previously owned by Morten Andersen and Jason Hanson, with nine 50-yard field goals this season.
Most punts inside the 20: Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt got his 42nd punt inside the 20 on Sunday, tying an NFL record. That was only the record for a few hours before Cardinals punter Dave Zastudil broke it by landing six punts inside the 20-yard line on Sunday against the Bears, upping his season total to a new NFL record of 44. Zastudil may add to his record on Sunday, or Colquitt may surpass him, giving us a reason to watch two good punters on two bad teams on Sunday.
Most passing yards, rookie: Andrew Luck has 4,183 passing yards this season, topping Cam Newton’s year-old record of 4,053.
Most passing attempts, rookie: Luck owns this record, too, with 599 attempts this season, topping Sam Bradford’s two-year-old record of 590.
Here are the single-season records that could be broken on Sunday:
Highest passer rating, rookie: Ben Roethlisberger owns this record at the moment, with a 98.1 rating in 2004. But Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is currently on pace to break that record, with a 104.1 rating, while Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is at 98.0 and could break it as well.
Highest completion percentage, rookie: Roethlisberger owns this record, too, at 66.44 percent, and Griffin is right behind him, at 66.40 percent.
Lowest percentage, passes had intercepted, rookie: Charlie Batch owns this record, with 1.98 percent of his passes intercepted (six interceptions on 303 attempts) as a Lions rookie in 1998. Griffin has thrown interceptions on just 1.33 percent of his passes this season (five interceptions on 375 attempts), so this record will belong to Griffin unless he throws at least three interceptions against the Cowboys on Sunday.
Most touchdown passes, rookie: Wilson has 25 touchdown passes this season, one away from Peyton Manning’s record of 26. Have you noticed there are some pretty good rookie quarterbacks this year?
Most completions, rookie: Luck has 325 completions this season, putting him third all time. He needs just two completions on Sunday to pass Peyton Manning for second place all time (326) and needs 30 completions to break Sam Bradford’s record of 354.
Most sacks: Houston’s J.J. Watt has 20.5 and San Francisco’s Aldon Smith has 19.5, putting them both in striking distance of Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5.
Most 100-yard receiving games: In addition to breaking the single-season yardage record, Calvin Johnson has tied the single-season 100-yard game record. Johnson has 11 games of at least 100 receiving yards this season, equaling Michael Irvin’s NFL record, and Megatron can get the record all to himself with a 12th 100-yard game on Sunday.
Most pass attempts: Detroit’s Matthew Stafford has 685 attempts this season, putting him seven passes away from breaking Drew Bledsoe’s single-season record of 691.
Highest net punting average: Saints punter Thomas Morstead is currently averaging 44.4 net yards per punt. He’s well on his way to breaking the all-time record, which the 49ers’ Andy Lee set last year when he averaged 43.99 yards per punt.
Most fair catches: Jets punt returner Jeremy Kerley has fair caught 33 punt returns this season, tying the all-time record set by Brian Mitchell of the Eagles in 2000. Mitchell is the NFL’s all-time leader for most punt returns and most punt return yards, and he probably wouldn’t mind giving up an unimportant record like most fair catches in a season — the kind of weird record it would make sense for someone on this weird Jets team to own.
Most interception return touchdowns: Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins has three interception return touchdowns this season, tying Hall of Famers Lem Barney and Ronnie Lott for the most ever by a rookie. If Jenkins has another pick-six on Sunday, he’ll have the rookie record all to himself and a share of the all-time record of four in a season.
Most rushing yards: This is the big one. Peterson has 1,898 yards this season, putting him 208 away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105, set in 1984. According to NFL information man Randall Liu, the NFL single-season records for rushing yards and receiving yards have only been set in the same season once, and that was in 1932 — the first year the NFL began recording single-season statistical records, when by definition every record was set. With Johnson already having the receiving record and Peterson having a shot at the rushing record, this could be the year that those records are set simultaneously once again.