GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – In NFL history, there have been 51 seasons in which a player caught at least 110 passes.
In this group, only one player has made at least 18 touchdowns.
It would be Green Bay Packers star Davante Adams.
Adams has just had one of the great seasons in NFL history. He caught 115 passes for 1,374 yards and all 18 touchdowns. He set the team record for receptions and tied Sterling Sharpe’s franchise mark in touchdowns – the third greatest in NFL history. And he did so by missing more than two games with a hamstring injury. Along with two other playoff scores, Adams’s 16-game total was 20 touchdowns.
He became the first player with at least 100 receptions and 18 touchdowns in a season. He also became the first player to average over eight receptions, over 95 yards, and score over 15 touchdowns.
Not only did Adams lead the NFL in touchdowns, he led the NFL with 98.1 yards per game and 8.2 catches per game. If he hadn’t missed both games, he might have joined Jerry Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Steve Smith (2005) as the only Super Bowl-era players to win the triple crown of most receptions, yards and touchdowns in one season.
Towards the end of the season, around Adams’ 28th birthday and Christmas, quarterback Aaron Rodgers did something that isn’t done very often in today’s society.
He wrote a note to Adams.
“I wrote him a really long message and just let him know how important he was to me and how much I appreciate his friendship and how much he inspires me and our team.” Rodgers said after the Packers dismantled the Tennessee Titans in Week 16 behind Adams’ dominant play of 11 receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns. “I just can’t say enough good things about the kind of person he is. And when you have the talent and the ability to go out there and dominate like he did …
“You know, I’ve been saying for so long that Charles (Woodson) was the best player I’ve ever played with. And Charles could dominate in a way I’ve never seen a nickel corner dominate before. (But) it’s probably time to start putting Davante in this conversation. Because he’s that type of player. He’s a special player.
Always an excellent road runner, two numbers came to the fore as he continuously produced despite everyone in the stadium knowing where the ball was going.
First, it was the percentage of catch. According to Pro Football Focus, he caught 78.8% of targeted passes. Of the 62 receivers targeted at least 70 times, this was the third best rate in the NFL. His previous career high was 68.5%. So while it is true that Rodgers frequently targeted Adams, the passing play was effective and Adams’ production was not forced.
Second is the lack of dropped passes. PFF charged Adams with a single drop. His 0.87% sink rate is tied for third in the NFL among receivers with more than 70 targets and tied for first among those with 75 targets. In his first six seasons, he averaged 6.8 drops.
Adams matched arguably the greatest receiver in NFL history, Rice, as the only player in NFL history with two seasons of more than 110 receptions and more than 13 touchdowns. He became the first player in history with four games of over 10 receptions, over 100 yards and over two touchdowns in a season.
“I think a lot about scoring touchdowns,” Adams said in December. “I really think about that. But the records… the awards or the little minor accomplishments along the way, the weekly stuff, hearing stuff like that makes me feel good, obviously, but that’s not what drives me. What motivates me is getting the Super Bowl and ultimately trying to be the best receiver to play this game. That’s how I attack it. That’s how I attack it. It’s attacking my day-to-day. It results in touchdowns, which can mean all of that on the road, but I just focus on what I need to focus on. “
With 63 receptions for 820 yards, Adams is already the most prolific playoff receiver in Packers history. If he signs a contract extension, he will likely become the most prolific receiver in franchise history. Adams is fourth with 546 receptions, three behind Jordy Nelson (550) and 51 behind Sterling Sharpe (595). Donald Driver is the franchise’s career leader with 743 receptions. Adams needs 198 receptions to exceed that number. Based on his performance in 2020, he could take that step towards the end of the 2022 season.
The question is whether Adams will be with the team in 2022. He is entering his final season under contract and is set to receive a monster salary. Given that Adams will be 29 at the end of the season, will the Packers want to spit out, say, the $ 27.25 million a year it would take to match Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins as wide receiver on highest paid in the NFL? And would Adams be better off sticking with a team that hasn’t committed to having Rodgers as a long-term quarterback?
For 2021, anyway, Adams will be ready to dominate, whoever starts football. It’s a mindset he borrowed from former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.
“It’s not just that they play that way, but they live their lives that way. It’s about being consistent, ”he said. “I feel like if you do that, if you train really hard and then play in the game, it will be a lot more natural for you. You will be able to catch the ball and think quickly and start playing, making people miss and turning it into the next phase of the game, rather than just catching the ball and being surprised and happy that you caught the ball. This type of habit and this type of lifestyle that you develop and get used to becomes second nature. It’s something I’ve always admired from him, so I’m just trying to allow him to continue living.
Countdown to Packers training camp
Feature: Bronson Kaufusi’s Change of Position
Training camp schedule
30 days before training camp: potential reductions
29 days to training camp: First year starting QB
28 days: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and the best running back tandems
27 days: Record dominance of the red zone
26 days: in Wisconsin sport, misery loves company
25 days: Matt LaFleur’s record start
24 days: the triumph of turnovers and the one who escaped
23 days: Jaire Alexandre
22 days: Green Bay’s record second quarter
21 days: Aaron Jones’ place in NFL history
20 days: How many kicks has Crosby missed since 2018 in Detroit?
19 Days: Eliminate passes for big players
18 days: the snubbed star, Za’Darius Smith
Nos 49-51: Jace Sternberger, Dominique Dafney, Hunter Bradley
Nos 52-54: Yosh Nijman, Ben Braden, Simon Stepaniak
# 55: Cole Van Lanen
Nos 56-58: Isaiah McDuffie, Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai
Nos 59-61: Kurt Benkert, Juwann Winfree, Malik Taylor
Nos 62-64: Patrick Taylor, Dexter Williams, Isaac Nauta
Nos 65-67: Ka’dar Hollman, Kabion Ento, Stanford Samuels
Nos 68-70: Jake Hanson and two specialist challengers
Nos 71-74: Christian Uphoff, Henry Black, Innis Gaines, Jake Dolegala
Nos 75-77: Coy Cronk, Willington Previlon, Jack Heflin
Nos 78-80: Delontae Scott, Carlo Kemp, Bronson Kaufusi
# 81: WR Bailey Gaither
Nos. 82-84: WR Reggie Begelton, Chris Blair, DeAndre Thompkins
Nos. 85-88: LB Ray Wilborn, Scoota Harris; OL Zach Johnson, Jacob Capra
# 89: G Jon Dietzen
# 90: K JJ Molson