The first five games for David Johnson have put the Arizona Cardinals running back on pace for one of the rarest seasons ever at his position.
Johnson rushed for 157 yards and caught three passes for 28 yards during Arizona’s 33-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. The second-year running back now has 457 rushing yards and 238 receiving yards after five games in 2016, putting him on pace for 1,462 rushing yards and 762 receiving yards.
Only two players in NFL history have ever produced a single season with at least 1,400 rushing yards and 700 receiving yards.
In 2003, LaDainian Tomlinson produced 1,645 rushing yards and 725 receiving yards for the San Diego Chargers. Three years later, Steven Jackson gave the St. Louis Rams 1,528 rushing yards and 806 receiving yards.
No other running back has hit both milestones in one year. Not even Marshall Faulk, one of the greatest dual threat running backs in NFL history.
After Thursday night’s win, Johnson said he feels “unstoppable.” He also looks the part. Johnson has produced 100 or more total yards in five straight games to start 2016, and he’s currently on pace to gain 2,224 yards from scrimmage. Only 23 times in NFL history has a player produced at least 2,200 yards from scrimmage in a single season.
His dominance on the stat sheet dates back to December of last season, when he officially became the team’s lead running back. Over his past 10 regular-season games, Johnson has 899 yards rushing, 454 yards receiving and 10 total touchdowns. His sample size is large enough now to believe he can continue his current pace over a full 16-game schedule.
If he does, Johnson will join a rare club of dual threat excellence.