By JOSH DUBOW, AP Pro Football Writer
Derrick Henry now has an extra game that will help him beat Eric Dickerson’s 37-year-old rushing record.
Finding the first 2,000 yard reception season just got a little easier for big play threats like Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins.
And who knows what Patrick Mahomes can do with the record book now that he has 17 games to collect yards and touchdowns?
The NFL’s move to 17 games in 2021 set some records that once seemed unbreakable with an extra game.
Here’s a look at some markings that could be surpassed along with a pair that should still be safe:
Dickerson broke OJ Simpson’s single-season rushing record of 2,003 yards when he ran for 2,105 for the Rams in 1984.
Six more players have cracked 2,000 since that season, but the closest Dickerson came in 2012 when Adrian Peterson dropped 8 yards.
Henry ran for 2,027 yards last season when he averaged 126.7 per game. Had he got that many in a 17th game, he would have beaten Dickerson by nearly 50 yards.
Calvin Johnson set the single-season reception record at 1,964 yards in 2012, but even with the increase in passing play, no one has reached 2,000 yards.
Julio Jones was the closest since Johnson, at 1,871 yards. That pace would have been enough to win Johnson’s mark with a 17th
But if the teams keep throwing the ball at the current speed, the 2,000 yard barrier could be within reach.
Buffalo’s Diggs led the NFL last year with 1,535 yards.
There have been 12 times a quarterback hitting 5,000 yards in a season, with the recently retired Drew Brees having made it himself five times.
Brees set the record at 5,476 yards in 2011, only to be broken by a yard by Peyton Manning two years later.
Three quarterbacks have hit the 5,000 mark in the past three years, Mahomes and Ben Roethlisberger in 2018, and Jameis Winston in 2019. All three were well on their way to almost dwarf Manning’s brand with an extra game.
Manning also set the TD mark at 55 that 2013 season. Mahomes reached 50 in 2018 when he threw 5,097 yards and was able to put both brands at risk with the 17th game.
Michael Strahan broke the Sacks record in 2001 – with the help of a dive by Brett Favre – when he hit 22 1/2 to break Mark Gastineau’s 22 mark in 1984.
Jared Allen (2011) and Justin Houston (2014) both reached Gastineau’s 22 in recent years, while Aaron Donald and JJ Watt came close with 20 1/2.
A 17th game could help someone overtake Strahan and remove from the record the controversy that was only achieved when Favre fell to the ground in the final minutes of the season finale.
The 4,000 yard passing season became common in recent years with only 16 games as the game opened and teams passed more than ever. There have been a total of 198 4,000-yard seasons in NFL history, with seven franchises having at least 10 and the Packers and Colts having 16 each.
There’s only one team that hasn’t broken that mark: the Chicago Bears. It could be tough for the Bears to end this drought with 17 games as well, as Andy Dalton starts the season as a starter but could eventually lose the job to rookie Justin Fields.
The bears hope that one day Fields will get there and beat Erik Kramer’s 1995 franchise record of 3,838 yards.
There are a handful of records that will be hard to break with 17 games, but perhaps no more than Night Train Lane’s mark of 14 interceptions in 1952. Nobody has hit 11 in one season since the Everson Walls in 1981 Quarterbacks have become much more careful with the ball.
Miami’s Xavien Howard became the first player since 2007 with 10 in a season last year, but even a 17th game is unlikely to be enough.
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