NFL: Numbers continue to rise in "pass happy" league

Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:03pm EST
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - It is no surprise to see elite NFL quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees racking up big numbers in yardage this season but what is increasingly noticeable is the number of less accomplished quarterbacks joining them.

Three quarterbacks have already passed the 3,000 yard mark this season, Brees, Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Oakland's Carson Palmer, and plenty more are poised to join them.

More significantly, eight quarterbacks are averaging over 290 yards per game, including Indianapolis Colts rookie Andrew Luck (296.5), Detroit's Matthew Stafford (298.8) and the oft-criticized Dallas Cowboys signal caller Tony Romo, who has passed for 2,916 yards from 10 games.

Three years ago only two quarterbacks, Brees and Houston's Matt Schaub, averaged more than 290 per game, and five seasons back, only New England's Brady managed it.

Admittedly, the bad weather winter games have yet to come and they can push down averages but there are plenty of other signs that quarterbacks are gaining more and more yards in the modern NFL.

Breaking 500 yards in a single game used to be one of the rarest of achievements. Only two players managed it in the entire 1990s, yet two players have done it already this season.

Schaub, not even ranked in the top ten quarterbacks in the league, did it with 527 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday while Eli Manning threw 510 for the New York Giants in September.

Last season, Brady and Stafford both threw over 500 in a single game.   Continued...

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (L) shakes hands with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck at the conclusion of the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts November 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi