Who Made NFL History in the 2012 Record Book?

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IDecember 31, 2012

Who Made NFL History in the 2012 Record Book?

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    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers set the NFL single-season passer rating record last season, but few of the other major records were really threatened. The same cannot be said for the 2012 season.

    Many of the game's biggest records have come under assault, including the single-season records for receiving yards, rushing yards and sacks. 

    In the following slides, we'll take you through the record-breaking season and players of 2012.  

WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

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    Old record: Jerry Rice, 1,848 receiving yards, 1984

    New record: Johnson, 1,964

    Johnson broke this record in Week 16 with 225 yards against the Atlanta Falcons, but needed 108 to become the first receiver in NFL history with 2,000 yards. He came up just short. Johnson's 72 yards against the Chicago Bears Sunday leaves his new record at 1,964. 

TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

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    Old record: Tony Gonzalez, 102 catches by a tight end, 2004

    New record: Witten, 103

    Witten will get the opportunity to build on his record in the NFL's final regular-season game Sunday night.

    The fact that Witten established a new mark for tight ends is somewhat amazing, considering his spleen injury during the preseason and his subsequent problem with drops early in the regular season. But as Tony Romo kept throwing, Witten kept catching, and now he's the new benchmark for catches in a season by a tight end.

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    Old record: Peyton Manning, 26 rookie touchdown passes, 1998

    Tied record: Wilson, 26

    The Seahawks' rookie quarterback needed two touchdowns in Week 17 to break Manning's record, but he at least tied the mark with a third-quarter score to Michael Robinson. Deep in St. Louis territory with under two minutes to go, Wilson ran in the game-winning score.

    Regardless of his inability to break Manning's mark, Wilson still finished up one of the most efficient rookie seasons ever by a quarterback. 

QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

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    Old record: Cam Newton, 4,051 rookie passing yards, 2011

    New record: Luck, 4,374

    Luck broke Newton's one-year record in Week 16 and then added to it during the Colts' season-finale win over the Houston Texans. Overall, Luck finished his rookie season in the top 10 of the NFL in passing yards.

    The rest of the numbers aren't great on the surface, but Luck's year will go down as one of the all-time best for a rookie quarterback. 

QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

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    Old record: Drew Bledsoe, 694 pass attempts, 1994

    New record: Stafford, 727

    While somewhat of a dubious record, Stafford broke Bledsoe's 18-year attempts mark rather comfortably. In the process, Stafford threw for 4,967 yards (33 yards short of back-to-back 5,000-yard seasons) but just 20 touchdowns.

    Had Stafford completed just a slightly higher percentage of his 727 attempts than 59.8 percent, he would have broken Drew Brees' completion mark of 440. Stafford fell five short. He'll have to settle with just four wins and this pass-attempts record.

New Orleans Saints

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    Old record: Baltimore Colts, 6,793 yards allowed in a single season, 1981

    New record: 7,042

    An undesirable mark, New Orleans entered the final week of the season needing just 281 yards to break Baltimore's 31-year-old record, but it did more than just set the new mark. It shattered the old one.

    The Saints allowed 530 to the Carolina Panthers Sunday, breaking 7,000 yards for the first time in NFL history. It's worth wondering how the Saints even won seven games.