Saints 2017 By the Numbers: Records fall in division title season
The 2017 edition of the New Orleans Saints will be remembered, at least for now, for the sixth division title in franchise history.
The record books will show much more.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the amazing numbers produced by the Saints in 2017:
Brees Gets His Record Back
Saints quarterback Drew Brees set the NFL record for completion percentage in a season of 71.2 percent in his brilliant 2011 season. Sam Bradford broke Brees’ mark last year, completing 71.6 percent. Brees got it back Sunday, finishing the season completing 386 of 536 passes – a rate of 72.0 percent.
It’s the second straight year and fourth time in his career Brees has finished with a completion percentage of 70 percent or better.
It took 51 years, but the Saints finally have a receiver who finished a season with 100 or more catches. Michael Thomas became the Saints’ first member of the century club on Sunday and finished 2017 with 104 receptions for 1,245 yards and five touchdowns.
The franchise’s previous single-season record was 99,
Thomas’ 196 catches through two seasons are the most by any player in his first two years in the NFL.
Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara became the first backfield teammates in NFL history to each accumulate 1,500 yards from scrimmage in a season.
Ingram finished with 1,124 yards rushing – his second consecutive 1,000-yard season – and 414 yards receiving. Kamara had 728 rushing yards and 826 receiving yards.
Kamara is only the third rookie in NFL history, and 27th back overall, with 700 or more rushing and receiving yards. The other rookies to reach the 700-700 mark: Herschel Walker of Dallas in 1986 and Charley Taylor of Washington in 1964.
Joy of Six
Kamara became the first player in the NFL to average at least six yards per carry on 120 or more carries since 2012, when three players did it – Robert Griffin III, Adrian Peterson and C.J. Spiller. Coincidentally, Peterson and Spiller would go on to become Saints.
The Saints’ record book lists the minimum number of carries to qualify for the season average record as 75 attempts. On that list, Kamara ranks third behind Darren Sproles and the late Hokie Gajan.
Drew Plays Keep Away
Brees finished 2017 with eight interceptions, the first single-digit interception season in his 12 years as a Saint. Before this season, his career-low total as a Saint was 11. The last Saints starter to finish with as few as eight interceptions in a full season? Aaron Brooks, who also had eight in 2003.
Rush = Pass
For the first time in 31 years, the Saints did not finish the season with more touchdowns passing than rushing. New Orleans had 23 rushing touchdowns and 23 passing touchdowns in 2017. The last time the Saints did not have more TDs passing than rushing? Go back to the Rueben Mayes-Dalton Hilliard era and Jim Mora’s first season with the Saints in 1986, when the team finished with 15 TDs on the ground but only 13 through the air.
Seven Straight Years
The Saints offense finished with 6,259 total yards in 2017, the seventh straight season it has topped the 6,000-yard mark.
That streak is not only an NFL record, but no other team has had a streak of as many as four straight seasons with 6,000 yards of offense.
The Saints scored 448 points in 2017 (28 points per game), another stat which the Saints have topped for seven years running.
That streak is the third-longest in NFL history. The New England Patriots have an active streak of 11 straight years with 400 or more points, while the 2004-2011 Chargers (with Drew Brees at quarterback the first two years) did it eight years in a row.
The Saints defense had three interceptions of Jameis Winston in the season finale to finish with 20 on the season. The 20 interceptions surpassed the total of the 2015 and 2016 seasons combined (18) and are the most in a single season by New Orleans since the 2009 Super Bowl champions finished with 26 INTs.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…