Final NFL stats leaders in every major category for 2019 season

ByBen Baby ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New names were littered among the leaders in several key NFL statistical categories for the 2019 season.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson provided the numerical proof as to why he should be the front-runner for the league's MVP voting. Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackerShaquil Barrett, an afterthought for all but a couple of teams last offseason, led the league in sacks.

And some of the NFL's most notable players, such as the New England Patriots' Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers, were nowhere to be found, while others such as Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston posted some deceptive numbers.

Here are the 2019 regular-season leaders in the major categories on offense and defense.

Passing touchdowns

Jackson inflicted more damage through the air than any other quarterback this season. And he took a massive leap from his rookie season in 2018, when the former Heisman winner threw six touchdowns in seven starts. The Louisville product threw a touchdown on 13.6% of his attempts in 2019 and pushed the Ravens to the best record in the NFL. Jackson also led all quarterbacks with an 81.7 Total QBR and 108.5 QB points above replacement, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.

1. Jackson, Ravens: 36.

2. Winston, Bucs: 33.

3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks: 31.

4. Dak Prescott, Cowboys: 30.

T-5. Drew Brees, Saints; Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers; Carson Wentz, Eagles: 27.

Passing yards

Winston had his share of good and bad stats, leading the NFL in passing yards and finishing second in passing touchdowns. However, he also threw 30 interceptions, which is nine more than the next-closest QB, and he became the first player in NFL history with a 30-30 season (30 TDs and 30 INTs). Winston was sixth in the league in yards per attempt and was tied with Rams quarterback Jared Goff for the most passing attempts in the NFL (626). All five quarterbacks at the top of this list did not make the postseason.

1. Winston, Bucs: 5,109.

2. Prescott, Cowboys: 4,902.

3. Goff, Rams: 4,638.

4. Philip Rivers, Chargers: 4,615.

5. Matt Ryan, Falcons: 4,466.

Completion percentage

No quarterback was more efficient as a passer than the Saints' Brees. He came within .01% of matching the NFL single-season record he set in 2018. Brees led the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio at 6.75. The Saints were judicious about when to attack opposing defenses through the air, however. Brees ranked 27th in the NFL in passing attempts and dropbacks.

1. Brees: 74.3%

2. Derek Carr, Raiders: 70.4%

3. Ryan Tannehill, Titans: 70.3%

4. Kirk Cousins, Vikings: 69.14%

5. Garoppolo, 49ers: 69.11%

Rushing yards

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry cemented his rushing title with a monstrous 211-yard performance on Week 17. That pushed him past the Browns' Nick Chubb. Henry became the first former Heisman Trophy winner to win the NFL's rushing title since Ricky Williams in 2002. Henry was second among running backs in yards gained before first contact, according to ESPN Stats & Info research. The Panthers' Christian McCaffrey led all players at the position with 901 yards before being touched.

1. Henry, Titans: 1,540.

2. Chubb, Browns: 1,494.

3. McCaffrey, Panthers: 1,387.

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys: 1,357.

5. Chris Carson, Seahawks: 1,230.

Rushing touchdowns

Henry scored three of those 16 touchdowns on the final week of the regular season and helped the Titans clinch a playoff berth. Packers running back Aaron Jones, a former fifth-round pick, blossomed this season. In Jones' three years in the NFL, he has doubled the amount of rushing touchdowns he had the previous season. The Rams'Todd Gurley II, last year's leader in rushing touchdowns, saw his total drop by one score as Los Angeles' offense failed to recapture the success it experienced in 2018.

T-1. Henry, Titans and Jones, Packers: 16.

3. McCaffrey, Panthers: 15.

4. Dalvin Cook, Vikings: 13.

T-5. Eliott, Cowboys and Gurley, Rams: 12.

Receiving yards

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas led the NFL in receiving by a wide margin. Thomas' league-leading 149 targets played a role in one of the most productive years in league history. Thomas finished the season with 1,725 receiving yards, the fifth-highest single-season total in NFL history. It's the best total posted since Falcons WR Julio Jones had 1,871 receiving yards in 2015. Thomas did most of his damage with the ball in his hands. He was second among wide receivers with 572 yards after the catch, according to ESPN Stats & Info research.

1. Thomas, Saints: 1,725.

2. Jones, Falcons: 1,394.

3. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers: 1,333.

4. Travis Kelce, Chiefs: 1,229.

5. DeVante Parker, Dolphins: 1,202.


Thomas made the most of the targets he received in 2019. His reception rate of 80.5% led all NFL receivers. Thomas had only one drop the entire season, which is remarkable considering how many times the ball was thrown his way. The Panthers' McCaffrey led all running backs in receptions, a testament to how the offense functioned with a shaky quarterback situation.

1. Thomas, Saints: 149.

2. McCaffrey, Panthers: 116.

T-3.Keenan Allen, Chargers andDeAndre Hopkins, Texans: 104.

5. Julian Edelman, Patriots: 100.

Receiving touchdowns

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay is the first Lion to lead the NFL in touchdown catches outright since 1952. Calvin Johnson led the NFL with 12 in 2008 but was tied with Larry Fitzgerald. Golladay had only eight combined touchdowns in his first two seasons in the NFL. His Lions teammate, receiverMarvin Jones Jr., was among those tied for fourth with nine touchdowns. The Ravens' Mark Andrews led all tight ends with 10 touchdowns, and Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp continued to enjoy success in the offense led by coach Sean McVay.

1. Golladay, Lions: 11.

T-2: Andrews, Ravens and Kupp, Rams: 10.

T-4: Parker, Dolphins; Godwin, Bucs; Thomas, Saints; Jared Cook, Saints; and Jones, Lions: 9.

Yards from scrimmage

McCaffrey was one of the biggest offensive threats in the NFL this season. He was one of the league's leaders in rushing yards and passing receptions, a testament to his versatility in an offense that was without quarterback Cam Newton for the majority of the season. He joined Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only players to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. McCaffrey was one of four running backs with 100 or more passing targets, according to ESPN Stats & Info research. The Saints' Thomas is the lone non-running back among the leaders in yards from scrimmage.

1. McCaffrey, Panthers: 2,392.

2. Elliott, Cowboys: 1,777.

3. Chubb, Browns: 1,772.

4. Henry, Titans: 1,742.

5. Thomas, Saints: 1,716.


Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett came out of nowhere to become the league's best edge rusher in 2019. An undrafted free agent out of Colorado State, Barrett had 14 combined sacks in his previous four seasons before he exploded this season. Barrett was sixth in the NFL in pass rush win rate, an ESPN metric powered by NFL Next Gen Stats.

1. Barrett, Bucs: 19.5.

2. Chandler Jones, Cardinals: 19.

3. Cameron Jordan, Saints: 15.5.

T-4: Danielle Hunter, Vikings and T.J. Watt, Steelers: 14.5.


The Patriots' Stephon Gilmore, the Vikings' Anthony Harris and the Bills' Tre'Davious White led the league in picks and stood out from the rest of a crowded pack. Gilmore made a strong argument as the league's best pass defender this season. He had more pass breakups than Harris and White, and tied for sixth in the NFL in disrupted dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Info research.

T-1: Gilmore, Patriots; Harris, Vikings; and White, Bills: 6

Nine tied: 5

Forced fumbles

Chandler Jones and T.J. Watt were a menace the entire season. They split the league lead in forced fumbles. Jones has a strong case to be the NFL's top defensive player. In addition to being a co-leader in this category, he was second in the league in sacks and had 24 disrupted dropbacks, the most in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Info research. Watt did all of his damage despite playing 125 fewer snaps than Jones this season.

T-1: Jones, Cardinals and Watt, Steelers: 8.

3. Barrett, Bucs: 6.

4. Khalil Mack, Bears: 5.

Eleven tied: 4

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