Milestones

09/27/2005

Each Wednesday throughout the 2005 NFL season, Profootballhof.com examines a current NFL record.

 

Sam Cunnigham

Sam Cunningham

The AFC East was running wild in the 1970s. During a seven-year span, three different teams from that division established a new league record for rushing yards in a single season.

 

In 1972, the undefeated Miami Dolphins, fueled by Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka, Larry Kiick, and Eugene “Mercury” Morris, eclipsed the previous NFL mark which has been set by the Detroit Lions nearly four decades earlier.

 

The Dolphins rushing total didn’t stand up for long. The following season, with much help from O.J. Simpson’s record 2,003 yards (since broken), the Buffalo Bills became the first NFL team to total more than 3,000 yards on the ground in a single year.

 

Five seasons later, the 1978 New England Patriots set the new league record, one that still stands today. Interestingly, the Patriots did not feature a 1,000-yard runner. Rather the team shared the rushing duties with five different players who carried the ball more than 75 times that year.

Player
No.
Yds.
Lg
TD
Sam Cunningham
199
768
52t
8
Horace Ivory
141
693
28
11
Andy Johnson
147
675
52
3
Steve Grogan
81
539
31
5
Don Calhoun
76
391
73
1
James McAlister
19
77
16
2
Stanley Morgan
2
11
6
0
Harold Jackson
1
7
7
0
Mosi Tatupu
3
6
3
0
Jerrel Wilson
1
0
0
0
Don Westbrook
1
-2
-2
0
Total
671
3,165
 
30

Progression of a Record – Most Yards Gained Rushing, Season
3,165 yards – New England Patriots, 1978
3,088 yards – Buffalo Bills, 1973
2,960 yards – Miami Dolphins, 1972
2,885 yards – Detroit Lions, 1936
2,847 yards – Chicago Bears, 1934

Other Milestones
Tom Dempsey - longest field goal
Jerry Rice - career receptions
Eric Dickerson - rookie rushing mark

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