Special Report

The NFL's 2017 Stats Leaders

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The New Orleans Saints had their playoff dreams cut short as the Minnesota Vikings pulled off an upset with a last-second touchdown. Despite the gut-wrenching ending, several Saints players will remember this as a special season as they marched their way into the NFL record book.

Quarterback Drew Brees and the running back tandem of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram all set single-season records this year. Brees reclaimed the title for highest passing completion percentage; Kamara had the highest yards per rush average for a rookie runner; and Kamara and Ingram became the first duo from the same team to each have more than 1,500 yards from the line of scrimmage. Brees, who is fourth in the league with 4,334 yards passing, extended his NFL-record of consecutive seasons with 4,000 or more yards passing to 12.

Brees wasn’t the only familiar name among league leaders for the 2017 season: ageless wonder Tom Brady continued to excel at age 40, throwing for a league-high 4,577 yards; the Steelers’ Antonio Brown once again led the NFL in receiving yards; and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson topped all passers with 34 touchdowns.

Brady etched his name into the record book a few more times, passing Brett Favre and Peyton Manning for most regular seasons wins by a starting quarterback with 196 as well as 89 regular-season career road wins, passing Manning’s previous mark of 85. And when Brady threw for 340 yards in Week 11 at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, he became the first NFL player with a 300-yard passing game in three countries: USA, England, and Mexico. Brady also led the Patriots to their 17th consecutive winning season and eighth straight year with at least 12 wins, both of which set new league records.

Kamara wasn’t the only rookie running back to top a statistical category. Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt was the leading rusher. And Steelers rookie wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster had 1,157 all-purpose yards (917 receiving, 240 kickoff-return) to become the youngest player (21 years old) in NFL history to record 1,000 all-purpose yards in a season.

Rams coach Sean McVay, at 31 years old, became the youngest head coach in NFL history to lead his team to a playoff berth. In McVay’s first game, a 46-9 win over the Colts, the Rams became the first team in NFL history to record two interception-return touchdowns and a safety in a season opener.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith passed for a career-high 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns with five interceptions this season. With this, he recorded an NFL-record fifth consecutive season with at least 3,000 passing yards and fewer than 10 interceptions. He also led the league in passer rating at 104.7, the highest of his 12-year career.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2017 NFL regular season’s leaders in 15 key statistical categories on offense, defense, and special teams.

Click here to see the NFL’s 2017 stat leaders.

Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

1. Passing Yards
> 2017 Leader: Tom Brady
> Team: New England Patriots
> 2017 Stat: 4,577
> Runner-up:Philip Rivers (4,515)

Tom Brady led the league in passing yards for the third time in his career and the first time since 2007. At age 40, he is the oldest player to ever lead the league in this category. The previous record had been held by Drew Brees, at 37.


Source: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

2. Pass Completion Percentage
> 2017 Leader: Drew Brees
> Team: New Orleans Saints
> 2017 Stat:72.0%
> Runner-up:Case Keenum (67.6%)

Drew Brees completed 72.0% of his passes in 2017, more than any other QB in the league. That percentage is the new NFL single-season record, breaking Sam Bradford’s 2016 mark of 71.6%. Brees had the record before 2016, holding the top two spots with 71.2% in 2011 and 70.6% in 2009.

Source: Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images

3. Passing TDs
> 2017 Leader: Russell Wilson
> Team: Seattle Seahawks
> 2017 Stat: 34
> Runner-up: Carson Wentz (33)

Russell Wilson led the league in this category for the first time in his six-year career and tied his career-best total. Of the 34 TDs he threw, 19 were in the fourth quarter, breaking Eli Manning’s single-season record of 15 set in 2011.

Source: Peter Aiken / Getty Images

4. Rushing Yards
> 2017 Leader: Kareem Hunt
> Team: Kansas City Chiefs
> 2017 Stat: 1,327
> Runner-up: Todd Gurley II (1,305)

Fewest amount of yards to lead the league in a season since 1,304 in 1990. Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt’s total was the fewest amount of yards needed to lead the league in a season since 1,304 in 1990. Hunt is the second rookie not selected in the first round to lead his league in rushing yards in the common draft era (since 1967). Robinson is the other rookie not selected in the first round to lead the league in single season rushing.


Source: Harry How / Getty Images

5. Rushing TDs
> 2017 Leader: Todd Gurley II
> Team: Los Angeles Rams
> 2017 Stat:13
> Runner-up: Mark Ingram (12)

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, who also had six receiving touchdowns, led the league not just in rushing touchdowns but also in total touchdowns with 19. He scored 43% of his team’s rushing and receiving touchdowns, both league highs in 2017.

Source: Adam Bettcher / Getty Images

6. Yards Per Carry
> 2017 Leader: Alvin Kamara
> Team: New Orleans Saints
> 2017 Stat: 6.1 yards/carry
> Runner-up: Cam Newton (5.4 yards/carry)

Among non-quarterbacks with 100-plus carries, Alvin Kamara’s 6.1 yards per rush was the most ever by an NFL rookie and the third most by any non-quarterback since 1980 (Jamaal Charles had 6.4 yards per carry in 2010, Barry Sanders had 6.1 in 1997). In addition, Kamara combined with Mark Ingram to become the first running back duo in NFL history to each have over 1,500 scrimmage yards in the same season.


Source: Jim Rogash / Getty Images

7. Receptions
> 2017 Leader: Jarvis Landry
> Team: Miami Dolphins
> 2017 Stat: 112
> Runner-up: Larry Fitzgerald (109)

Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry had at least five receptions in all 16 games, joining Antonio Brown (2013 and 2014), Pierre Garcon (2013), and Jimmy Smith (2001) as the only players in NFL history to accomplish such a feat.

Source: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

8. Receiving Yards
> 2017 Leader: Antonio Brown
> Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
> 2017 Stat: 1,533
> Runner-up: Julio Jones (1,444)

This is the second time Steelers receiver Antonio Brown has led the league in receiving yards. He did it as well in 2014 with 1,698 yards. Brown’s 7,848 receiving yards since 2013 surpassed Marvin Harrison’s 7,594 yards from 1999-2003 for the most receiving yards by a player over any five-year span in NFL history.

Source: Frederick Breedon / Getty Images

9. Receiving TDs
> 2017 Leader: DeAndre Hopkins
> Team: Houston Texans
> 2017 Stat: 13
> Runner-up (tie): Davante Adams, Jimmy Graham (10)

In addition to leading the league in receiving TDs, Texan receiver DeAndre Hopkins set a career high — his previous best was 11 in 2015. It’s the lowest total to lead the league since 2009, when Vernon Davis, Larry Fitzgerald, and Randy Moss all caught 13.


Source: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

10. Yards Per Reception
> 2017 Leader: Marvin Jones
> Team: Detroit Lions
> 2017 Stat: 18.0 yards/catch
> Runner-up: Keelan Cole (17.8 yards/catch)

Lions wideout Marvin Jones had only two games (Weeks 3 and 5) in which he averaged less than 10 yards a catch and nine in which he averaged more than 20 yards a catch. His highest average was 28.3 yards on three receptions in Week 14, the same game he had his longest catch of the year for 58 yards.

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

11. All-Purpose Yards
> 2017 Leader: Todd Gurley II
> Team: Los Angeles Rams
> 2017 Stat: 2.093
> Runner-up:Le’Veon Bell (1,946)

This season, Rams running back Todd Gurley joined Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (1975) and Marshall Faulk (2000 and 2001) as the only players in NFL history to accumulate at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing TDs, and more than five TD catches in a single season.


Source: Harry How / Getty Images

12. Points Scored
> 2017 Leader: Greg Zuerlein
> Team: Los Angeles Rams
> 2017 Stat: 158
> Runner-up: Stephen Gostkowski (156)

This was by far Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein’s best season with 158 points. His previous high was 112 points in 2013, when the franchise was in St. Louis. Zuerlein also tied Matt Bryant (2016) and Stephen Gostkowski (2013) for the 10th best point total in NFL history.

Source: Naomi Baker / Getty Images

13. Sacks
> 2017 Leader: Chandler Jones
> Team: Arizona Cardinals
> 2017 Stat: 17.0
> Runner-up (tie): Calais Campbell, Demarcus Lawrence (14.5)

Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones was pretty consistent this season — he was sackless in just three games, had two sacks in four, and one in the other nine. The 17 sacks were also the most in his career. His previous high was 12.5 as a member of the Patriots in 2015.

Source: Joe Sargent / Getty Images

14. Passes Intercepted
> 2017 Leader: DeShone Kizer
> Team: Cleveland Browns
> 2017 Stat: 22
> Runner-up: Cam Newton (16)

Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer became the first rookie to lead the league in interceptions thrown since Peyton Manning set the rookie record of 28 in 1998. He threw six red zone interceptions, doubling the second highest total of three by Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, and Brett Hundley.


15. Interceptions
> Leader (tie): Kevin Byard and Darius Slay
> Team: Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions
> 2017 Stat: 8
> Runner-up (tie): A.J. Bouye, Eric Weddle (6)

The Titans’ Kevin Byard and Lions’ Darius Slay both set career highs in interceptions. Byard had five picks in a two-game span this season. He was the first player with five interceptions in consecutive games since Deangelo Hall did it in 2010.

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