Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown with teammates Wes Welker #83 and Matthew Slater #18 in the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
(December 31, 2011 – Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)
(PhatzRadio / USA Today) — (UPDATE: We failed to note Sunday that Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski eclipsed Graham later in the afternoon to finish with 1,327 yards. Gronkowski also added to his record for TD catches by a tight end in one season (17), topping the previous mark by four.)
Drew Brees finishes with a league-record 5,476 passing yards, extending the record he set in Week 16 after breaking Dan Marino’s 27-year-old record; Brees also finished with a league-high 46 TD passes, beating Aaron Rodgers (who was inactive Sunday) by one
That wasn’t all for Brees — his 468 completions are also the most ever in one season, and his 71.2% completion rate surpasses the previous record (70.6%) he set two years ago
Rodgers did finish with a 122.5 passer rating which is 1.4 points better than Peyton Manning’s previous single-season mark from 2004
Prior to the 2011 season, the 5,000-yard passing barrier had been exceeded twice (Marino – 1984, Brees – 2008); this season Brees, Tom Brady (5,235 yards) and Matthew Stafford (5,038) all exceeded it with Stafford going off for 520 yards Sunday to reach the plateau
Playing in place of resting Rodgers, Matt Flynn became the unlikely answer to some Packers trivia questions, throwing for team records with 480 yards and six TDs in a 45-41 win vs. the Lions; expect Flynn, who will likely hit the free agent market, to be a sought-after commodity in a few months
With a 244-yard day, Lions WR Calvin Johnson wins the receiving title with 1,681 yards
Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew churned out a season-high 169 yards on the ground to finish with a league-high 1,606; he exceeded Fred Taylor’s former franchise record by 44 yards
Vikings DE Jared Allen notched 3.5 sacks vs. the Bears to finish with 22, a half-sack behind Michael Strahan’s 10-year-old record
Jimmy Graham’s 97-yard receiving day let him finish with 1,310, a new single-season record for tight ends; Graham’s total bests Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow’s 31-year-old standard by 20 yards
Darren Sproles of the Saints finished with 2,696 all-purpose yards (1,089 kick return, 710 receiving, 603 rushing, 294 punt return) to break Derrick Mason’s 11-year mark by 6 yards
With a 617-yard outburst Sunday, the Saints finish with a single-season record 7,474 to obliterate the former mark of the 2000 Rams (7,075)
In a more dubious category, the Raiders finish with 163 penalties for 1,358 yards … yes, both the most in league history
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