Pick-Six: 17th game puts some NFL records within reach

Sep 9, 2021, 9:58 PM | Updated: Sep 10, 2021, 10:04 am

Derrick Henry now has an extra game to help him surpass Eric Dickerson’s 37-year-old rushing record.

The quest for the first 2,000-yard receiving season just got a little bit easier for big-play threats like Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins.

And who knows what Patrick Mahomes can do to the record book now that he has 17 games to rack up yards and touchdowns?

The NFL’s move to 17 games in 2021 has made some records that once might have seemed unbreakable a little bit more attainable with an extra game to do it.

Here’s a look at some marks that could be surpassed along with a couple that still should be safe:


Dickerson broke O.J. Simpson’s single-season rushing record of 2,003 yards when he ran for 2,105 in 1984 for the Rams.

Since that season, six more players have cracked 2,000, but the closest anyone came to Dickerson happened in 2012 when Adrian Peterson fell 8 yards short of matching it.

Henry ran for 2,027 yards last season when he averaged 126.7 per game. Had he gotten that many in a 17th game he would have surpassed Dickerson by nearly 50 yards.


Calvin Johnson set the single-season receiving record with 1,964 yards in 2012 but even with the increase in passing no one has gotten to 2,000.

Julio Jones came closest since Johnson with 1,871 yards. That pace would have been enough to break Johnson’s mark with a 17th game but would have left him about 13 yards short of 2,000.

But if teams keep throwing the ball at the current rate, the 2,000-yard barrier could be in reach.

Buffalo’s Diggs led the NFL last year with 1,535 yards receiving.


There have been 12 times a quarterback reached 5,000 yards passing in a season, with the recently retired Drew Brees having done it five times himself.

Brees set the record with 5,476 yards in 2011 only to have Peyton Manning break it by a yard two years later.

Three quarterbacks have reached the 5,000-mark the past three years, with Mahomes and Ben Roethlisberger doing it in 2018, Jameis Winston in 2019. All three were on a pace to nearly eclipse Manning’s mark with an extra game.

Manning also set the TD mark with 55 in that 2013 season. Mahomes got to 50 in 2018 when he threw for 5,097 yards and could threaten both marks with the 17th game.


Michael Strahan set the sacks record in 2001 — with help from a dive by Brett Favre — when he got 22 1/2 to break Mark Gastineau’s mark of 22 set in 1984.

Jared Allen (2011) and Justin Houston (2014) both matched Gastineau’s 22 in recent years, with Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt coming close at 20 1/2.

A 17th game could help someone pass Strahan and remove the controversy from the record that was achieved only when Favre just fell to the ground in the closing minutes of the season finale.


The 4,000-yard passing season became common in recent years even with only 16 games as the game opened up and teams passed more than ever. In all, there have been 198 4,000-yard seasons in NFL history, with seven franchises having at least 10 and the Packers and Colts having 16 each.

There is only one team that hasn’t cracked that mark: the Chicago Bears. It might be tough for the Bears to end that drought even with 17 games because Andy Dalton begins the season as starter but could lose the job at some point to rookie Justin Fields.

The Bears hope Fields will get there some day and pass the franchise record of 3,838 yards set by Erik Kramer in 1995.


There are a handful of records that will be tough to break with 17 games but perhaps none more than Night Train Lane’s mark of 14 interceptions in 1952. No one has even reached 11 in a season since Everson Walls in 1981 as quarterbacks have become much more careful with the ball.

Miami’s Xavien Howard last year became the first player since 2007 with 10 in a season but even a 17th game probably won’t be enough.


More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during a...
Associated Press

Greenwood’s future remains uncertain after charges dropped

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — A year after his arrest, Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood is free to resume a soccer career that looked set to make him one of the biggest stars in the sport. Where he goes from here, however, is unknown. The 21-year-old Greenwood, who also played for England’s national team, had charges […]
1 day ago
Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, right, stops a shot by Buffalo Sabres right wing Jack ...
Associated Press

Support growing in NHL for longer 3-on-3 OT, fewer shootouts

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Troy Terry made his name in hockey with his shootout heroics for the U.S. in the 2017 world junior championship against Russia, much like T.J. Oshie did at the Olympics a few years earlier. Still, the Anaheim Ducks All-Star wouldn’t mind seeing fewer of them decide NHL games. A movement […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Olympic bans and boycotts go back a century

Ukraine and the three Baltic countries, all former Soviet republics, moved a step closer Friday to boycotting next year’s Paris Olympics because of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes. The International Olympic Committee plans to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete as “neutral athletes” despite their invasion of Ukraine, saying it can’t discriminate athletes […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

US men’s soccer debut game on TNT draws 416,000 viewers

NEW YORK (AP) — The first English-language television broadcast of the U.S. men’s soccer team in its new media contract was seen by 416,000 viewers on TNT. Last Saturday’s 0-0 exhibition draw against Colombia, which started at 7:37 p.m. EST, was seen by 540,000 in its Spanish-language broadcast on Telemundo for a combined audience of […]
1 day ago
FILE - Amanda Serrano punches Ireland's Katie Taylor during the fourth round of a lightweight champ...
Associated Press

For Serrano, second shot at undisputed, then maybe at Taylor

NEW YORK (AP) — Amanda Serrano narrowly missed becoming an undisputed champion last year when Katie Taylor edged her at Madison Square Garden. She has another chance at undisputed on Saturday. Win that and she might get a second shot at Taylor, too. Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KOs) returns to Madison Square Garden, this time back […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65) reacts after running back Kenneth Gainwell (...
Associated Press

From Reid to Super Bowls, Eagles 4 stalwarts done it all

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jason Kelce felt the pull of retirement after the Eagles slogged through a miserable 2020 season and a second Super Bowl any time soon seemed like a joke. The Christmas album crooner,honorary Mummer and All-Pro center — how many players have all those titles in their NFL.com bio? — considered walking away […]
1 day ago
Pick-Six: 17th game puts some NFL records within reach