It’s pretty clear that the league has been trending toward more prolific passing numbers, and 2015 was no exception. With Matthew Stafford and Ryan Fitzpatrick joining the club on Sunday, the league saw 11 quarterbacks throw 30-plus touchdowns this year, up two from the nine that accomplished that last year, and up six from the five quarterbacks that did it in 2013.
Not surprisingly, there were more passing touchdowns this year than any previous NFL season ever.
So let’s take a look at a few players that broke records this year. First up, the surprising and intriguing case of Kirk Cousins. After a rough start, Cousins turned a corner for Jay Gruden and put up some truly amazing numbers en route to leading Washington to a playoff berth. Cousins finished with 29 touchdowns to 11 picks and became the first Washington quarterback since 1978 to throw a touchdown pass in all 16 games.
Hickey, who spent 14 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and worked his way up to the team’s director of personnel, was hired by the Dolphins in January 2014. One year later, however, after a second straight 8-8 season, Miami brought in former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Tannenbaum was assigned the label of executive vice president of football operations and became Hickey’s boss.
In his one season calling the shots, after replacing the deposed Jeff Ireland, Hickey drafted offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. He also made a number of free agent signings. The most notable was the five-year, $47 million contract he handed left tackle Branden Albert.
This is the seventh straight year the Dolphins missed out on the playoffs. They haven’t finished with a winning record since 2008.
In the AFC the Cincinnati Bengals will play host to the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers in a Wild Card Weekend matchup, with the Bengals having lost 33-20 at home to the Steelers as a 1-point favorite when they last met in Week 14. Cincinnati topped the Steelers 16-10 as a 1-point underdog at Pittsburgh in the Week 8 battle between the two teams at Heinz Field.