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5 NFL records that could be broken in 2020

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June 25th, 2020

The 2019 NFL season was filled with record-setting performances. Expect more of the same in 2020.

Here are five NFL records that will likely be broken in the upcoming season.

Most rushing yards by a non-running back through his first three seasons

In order to name all the records Lamar Jackson set in his second year in the league, it would require about a full page of text. To highlight a few, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback became the first player to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in one season. He also broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback by tallying 1,206.

On top of that, he became the second unanimous league MVP (Tom Brady the other), the youngest quarterback (23 years, 19 days) to start a Pro Bowl game, and broke the Ravens franchise record for most touchdown passes in a season (36).

In 2020, there’s one more record Jackson is sure to set — most rushing yards by a non-running back through his first three NFL seasons. Cam Newton holds the record, with 2,032 rushing yards from 2011-2013. The former Panthers dual-threat quarterback started all 16 games in each of those seasons.

Jackson only started seven games during his rookie year and still put up 695 yards on the ground. Add that to his total in 2019, and he only needs 132 rushing yards to beat Newton’s three-season total.

Most passing yards in one season

Another sophomore phenom in the NFL, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, passed for 5,097 yards (ninth all-time for a single season) and 50 touchdowns in 2018.

By September of 2019, some NFL experts speculated whether Mahomes could break Peyton Manning’s single-season passing record (5,477) and become the first player to reach 6,000 passing yards and 60 touchdown passes in one season.

Neither happened, because Mahomes became limited by a sprained ankle early in the season and dislocated his knee in Week 7. Mahomes didn’t return from his knee injury until Week 10 but finished the season with 4,031 yards and 26 touchdowns. He and his star-studded offense also went on to win the Super Bowl, and Mahomes claimed the game’s MVP.

In 2020, the quarterback is in excellent position to top his success from last season, with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, and running back Damien Williams back in the fold. The Chiefs also drafted LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Should Mahomes stay healthy the entire season, there’s no reason he can’t top 2018’s passing total and break Manning’s single-season record.

Most career pass attempts

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has already set the record for career passing yards (77,416), passes completed (6,867), passing touchdowns (547), and career completion percentage (67.6%).

While this record may not be quite as exciting as a few listed above, Brees is nearly guaranteed to break Brett Favre’s mark for career pass attempts.

The 41-year-old decided to return to New Orleans for at least one more season and is just nine pass attempts shy of topping Favre’s 10,169.

By the end of Week 1, Brees should have this one in the bag.

Most career starts

Another aging great at quarterback, 42-year-old Tom Brady could hit a few milestones in 2020, as well. The new Tampa Bay Buccaneer is inching toward another record owned by Favre — most career starts.

From 1991-2010, Favre started 298 games. Brady has started 283 games, one fewer than legendary receiver Jerry Rice and 10 fewer than offensive lineman Bruce Matthews.

If Brady can start all 16 games in 2020, he’ll jump into first, with 299 starts.

Brady is also tied with Matthews, Merlin Olsen, Peyton Manning, and Tony Gonzalez for most Pro Bowl nominations (14).

After Brady’s down year in New England, he failed to receive a Pro Bowl nod for the first time since 2008, when he missed the season because of injury. With his new offense in Tampa, and former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to join Brady as a Buc, the six-time Super Bowl champ could set the record with one more Pro Bowl nomination in 2020. 

Most sacks by a rookie

This one is probably the least likely to occur in 2020, but it is worth keeping an eye on.

In 2019, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young earned a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist, after he set the Buckeyes’ single-season sack record (16 1/2) and led college football in that category.  

Young decided to forgo his senior year and was drafted by the Washington Redskins with the No. 2 overall pick.

Young could push for the rookie sack record, which Jevon Kearse set with 14 1/2 in 1999. Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb came close to breaking that record, with 12 sacks in 2018. It looked like fellow Buckeye Nick Bosa might close in on Kearse last season, but after seven sacks through six games, he finished with nine for the year.

Young will play for a Washington defense that performed poorly in 2019. However, the franchise brought in new head coach Ron Rivera, who hired Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator.

Del Rio previously served as the Broncos DC from 2012-2014. In his first season in that role, Von Miller recorded 18 1/2 sacks.

Perhaps Del Rio can pull out that kind of performance with a rookie talent like Young under his wing.


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