Every NFL season has its statistical curiosities. In fact, if I can find a publisher, my next book might be Statistical Curiosities and the Fans Who Love Them (like me). Anyway, I just noticed one while scanning the final receiving stats. Ready? Here goes:
In 2014 Broncos tight end Julius Thomas became the first player in NFL history to catch 12 or more touchdown passes while gaining less than 500 receiving yards. (Quite a mouthful, huh?)
Thomas’ final numbers in 13 games — he missed three with an ankle injury — were 43 catches, 489 yards, 12 TDs. Others have had 12 or more TDs on fewer than 43 receptions. In 1985, for instance, the Seahawks’ Darryl Turner had 13 on 34 grabs. But nobody, not even in the early days, gained as few as 489 yards. That’s mind-boggling.
Of course, if Thomas had played all 16 games, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But since he didn’t, we have a terrific Statistical Curiosity for an Offseason Day. The details:
12 OR MORE TD CATCHES, 800 OR LESS RECEIVING YARDS
|2014||Julius Thomas, Broncos||43||489||11.4||12|
|1951||Leon Hart, Lions||35||544||15.5||12|
|1962||Chris Burford, Texans (AFL)||45||645||14.3||12|
|1985||Daryl Turner, Seahawks||34||670||19.7||13|
|1963||Gary Collins, Browns||43||674||15.7||13|
|1977||Nat Moore, Dolphins||52||765||14.7||12|
|2004||Randy Moss, Vikings||49||767||15.7||13|
|2012||James Jones, Packers||64||784||12.3||14|
|2013||Julius Thomas, Broncos||65||788||12.1||12|
|1965||Art Powell, Raiders (AFL)||52||800||15.4||12|
As you can see, Thomas made the list twice. Last season he had 12 touchdowns on just 788 yards. I have no idea what his career holds for him, but I do know this: The man scores a lot of TDs and — just as important in this Recycling Era — he doesn’t waste yards.