The Broncos might have bombed out in the first round of the playoffs again, but — sorry if this sounds like a Holiday Inn Express commercial — they did have two 1,400-yard receivers. Demaryius Thomas finished with 1,619 and free-agent addition Emmanuel Sanders with 1,404, making them the fourth such tandem in NFL history. Here’s what the group looks like:
TEAMS WITH TWO 1,400-YARD RECEIVERS IN THE SAME SEASON
|Year Team (W-L)||Receivers, Yards||Result|
|1995 Lions (10-6)||Herman Moore 1,686, Brett Perriman 1,488||Wild card|
|2000 Rams (10-6)||Torry Holt 1,635, Isaac Bruce 1,471||Wild card|
|2005 Cardinals (5-11)||Larry Fitzgerald 1,409, Anquan Boldin 1,402||Missed playoffs|
|2014 Broncos (12-4)||Demaryius Thomas 1,619, Emmanuel Sanders 1,404||Won division|
Also, for the first time this year, the NFL had three 1,000-yard rookie receivers. That makes eight rookie receivers with 1,000-plus yards since 2003. Why is this notable? Because there were only 12 in all the seasons before that (AFL included).
1,000-YARD ROOKIE RECEIVERS SINCE 2003
|Year Receiver, Team||Rec||Yds||Avg||TD|
|2014 Odell Beckham, Giants||91||1,305||14.3||12|
|2014 Mike Evans, Bucs||68||1,051||15.5||12|
|2014 Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers||73||1,008||13.8||9|
|2013 Keenan Allen, Chargers||71||1,046||14.7||8|
|2011 A.J. Green, Bengals||65||1,057||16.3||7|
|2006 Marques Colston, Saints||70||1,038||14.8||8|
|2004 Michael Clayton, Bucs||80||1,193||14.9||7|
|2003 Anquan Boldin, Cardinals||101||1,377||13.7||8|
What this suggests is that quarterbacks aren’t the only players coming out of college these days who are more advanced in the passing game. Their receivers are, too — and like the QBs, are capable of making a more immediate impact in the pros.
Consider: Since 2003, there have been eight 1,000-yard rookie receivers and 15 1,000-yard rookie rushers. From 1932 to 2002 — which is as far back as statistics go — there were 12 1,000-yard rookie receivers and 46 1,000-yard rookie rushers.
In other words, where before it was much more common for a rookie to rush for 1,000 yards (an almost 4-to-1 ratio), now it’s only somewhat more common (slightly less than 2-to-1). And as time goes on, given the devaluation of the running game, the gap may continue to shrink.