Tyreek Hill earned his backflip.
The Chiefs’ star wide receiver had just caught his seventh pass against the Buccaneers, taking it 44 yards to the end zone. It gave him his second touchdown of Week 12 to go along with 203 receiving yards. And oh yeah, it was still the first quarter.
Hill finished with 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns, winning countless fantasy football matchups in the process while ensuring that Patrick Mahomes would even his score with Tom Brady. The performance by Hill was such that, as it was happening, it was hard to truly fathom how great it was. It seemed like Tampa Bay would never have an answer for one of the NFL’s fastest players, and although Hill slowed down after his torrid first quarter, he still made plenty of history.
Before Hill takes the field again and gets to try and top what may turn out to be the best game of his career, we’ve crunched some of the numbers to explain just how crazy Hill’s performance really was.
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First quarter and first half magic
Having 200-plus receiving yards in any part of a game is rare, but doing it in the first quarter makes it that much more notable. It’s easy to track that way. Everyone knows Hill began the game with a 0 in the receiving yardage column, and after 15 game minutes, he had a 203 in that same column.
Hill’s first quarter was historic. Since 1990, it was the second-best receiving first quarter in the NFL, according to CBS. And as the top-four below shows, it’s apparently very helpful to have Mahomes throwing you the football.
Most receiving yards in a first quarter (since 1990)
- Lee Evans, Bills – 205 (2006)
- Tyreek Hill, Chiefs – 203 (2020)
- Sammy Watkins, Chiefs – 151 (2019)
- T.Y. Hilton, Colts – 143 (2014)
Hill only had one catch in the second quarter, for seven yards. But that’s all it took to leapfrog Evans and make history.
(An aside: What were the Bills doing not getting Evans any more receiving yards in the second quarter after he had 205 in the first?)
Most receiving yards in a first half (since 1990)
- Tyreek Hill, Chiefs – 210 (2020)
- George Kittle, 49ers – 210 (2018)
- Kevin Curtis, Eagles – 205 (2007)
- Lee Evans, Bills – 205 (2006)
2020 league-high in a quarter?
Entering Week 12, one NFL receiver had a 200-yard game in 2020: Tyler Lockett on Oct. 25 against the Cardinals, when the Seahawks’ wideout caught 15 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns. That means Lockett entered Week 12 with the single-game league-high in receiving yards for 2020.
Hill quickly pushed that aside with his 203 yards in the first quarter alone. It took Hill less than 15 minutes to top what Lockett had put up in an overtime thriller. Considering that Hill kept going all the way to 269 yards, it might very well stand as the league-high for the 2020 season. Another wideout might not even get to Hill’s first-quarter total of 203.
Speaking of a quarter
Don’t worry, we’ve basically covered the first quarter details. But what’s just as remarkable is that in Hill’s 11th game of the season, he recorded about a quarter of his 2020 receiving production so far. For reference, one game out of 11 is 9.1 percent.
Through 11 games, Hill has 1,021 receiving yards, so the 269 is 26.3 percent of his total. The three touchdowns out of his league-best 13 on the season accounted for 23 percent of his scoring production so far. And his 13 catches out of 68 is about 19.1 percent of his reception total.
For some receivers, having one big game carry their production like that so far into the season could make sense, because someone who doesn’t produce a whole lot could still have a big game out of the blue. But Hill was already having a good 2020 — he topped 100 receiving yards in both of his two games directly preceding Week 12. For someone so productive, it should’ve been almost impossible to boost his numbers by such a rate, but that’s exactly what Hill did.
What’s the NFL single-game receiving yards record?
Hill’s 269 yards seems like an almost unheard of total, and it basically is. It’s tied for 14th (with Del Shofner) in single-game receiving yardage in NFL history. Here’s the 13 outings ahead of Hill and Shofner:
- Flipper Anderson, Rams – 336 (1989)
- Calvin Johnson, Lions – 329 (2013)
- Stephone Paige, Chiefs – 309 (1985)
- Jim Benton, Rams – 303 (1945)
- Cloyce Box, Lions – 302 (1950)
- Julio Jones, Falcons – 300 (2016)
- Jimmy Smith, Jaguars – 291 (2000)
- Jerry Rice, 49ers – 289 (1995)
- John Taylor, 49ers – 286 (1989)
- Antonio Brown, Steelers – 284 (2015)
- Terrell Owens, 49ers – 283 (2000)
- Andre Johnson, Texans – 273 (2012)
- Charley Hennigan, Oilers – 272 (1961)