Beckham’s breakthrough

Odell Beckham Jr. caught 12 passes for 185 yards in the Giants’ 34–26 loss to the Eagles on Sunday. That completed a nearly unprecedented month of December during which Beckham caught 43 passes for 606 yards. Only two other players in NFL history gained at least 600 receiving yards in December of one season: Calvin Johnson in 2012 (707) and Josh Gordon in 2013 (658).

Beckham also set an NFL record for receiving yards by a rookie in any calendar month, December or otherwise. The previous mark was 596 yards by Bill Groman of the Houston Oilers and it had stood since November 1960. Amazingly, after Groman’s record had stood for 54 years, Beckham fell 3 yards short in November and then broke it in December.

Only two other players in NFL history posted back-to-back months of 500 or more receiving yards, and both were veterans with multiple Pro Bowls on their résumés: Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson (both in 2012).

But that’s not all. A few more bullet points to serve as exclamation points to Beckham’s season:

  • Beckman led all players in receiving yards in each of his last six games, the longest streak ever by an NFL rookie. The previous record was four straight games by John Jefferson of the Chargers in 1978.
  • Beckham had the highest receiving-yards total on both Week 15 and Week 16. The only other rookie in NFL history to do so on consecutive weeks was Don Looney of the Eagles, who had a streak of three weeks in September 1940. Beckham ranked second in receiving yards on Week 17 with a season-high total of 185; Eric Decker caught 10 passes for 221 yards.
  • During November, Beckham set Giants records for pass receptions and receiving yards in one calendar month, and he broke both of those marks in December.



How did the 49ers manage to lose?

If you knew only these two facts about the Super Bowl—the 49ers averaged 7.8 yards per play and Frank Gore led all players with 110 rushing yards—you could have reasonably concluded that the Niners won and won big. Here’s why:

  • Only three other teams averaged at least 7.5 yards per play in an NFL or AFL title game (Super Bowl or otherwise). All won the game by more than 30 points: the 1957 Lions, 59-14 over the Browns (7.7 yards per play); 1963 Chargers, 51-10 over the Patriots (10.2 yards per play); and 1987 Redskins, 42-10 over the Broncos (8.4 yards per play).
  • Frank Gore was the 20th player to gain at least 100 rushing yards in a Super Bowl. Only three others did so for the losing team; but in each of those three cases, a player on the winning team also reached the 100-yard rushing mark.  That was not the case with Gore and the Ravens.
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