If DeAndre Hopkins is set to prove that Houston Texans (Bill O'Brien) made a mistake by trading him, his Week 1 debut with the Arizona Cardinals was a step in the right direction. Hopkins had quite the debut in a Cardinals uniform, finishing with a career-high 14 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in Arizona's upset of the San Francisco 49ers. Hopkins recorded the 10th double-digit reception game of his career and his eighth game finishing with 150+ yards.
Even though the Cardinals targeted Hopkins 16 times, that number isn't close to his career-high. Hopkins was targeted 22 times in a 2015 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and 17 times in a 2016 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, He's been targeted 16 times in a game on five separate occasions. Since targets were recorded in 1992, Hopkins' 22 targets in a game are the fifth most in league history (Brandon Marshall received 28 targets in 2009).
Wide receivers that change teams typically made an impact in their first game with their new club, but it was hard to find wideouts over the course of NFL history that had a better debut than Hopkins. The Cardinals wideout set the NFL record for most catches in his first game with his new team with 14, but that was just the beginning of his historic performance in Week 1.
In this week's edition of "By The Numbers," we'll take a dive into where Hopkins' Week 1 performance ranks in NFL history among receivers that joined a new team in the offseason and how the Cardinals wide receiver ranks all time after 111 career games. Hopkins is making a case to be one of the best wide receivers in league history after his first eight seasons.
Most yards in Week 1 debut on new team (since AFL-NFL merger)
- Anquan Boldin (2013, 49ers) -- 208
- Randy Moss (2007, Patriots) -- 183
- DeAndre Hopkins (2020, Cardinals) -- 151
- Rocket Ismail (1999, Cowboys) -- 149
- Shawn Jefferson (2000, Falcons) -- 148
Most receptions Week 1 debut on new team (since AFL-NFL merger)
- Michael Thomas (2017, Saints) -- 16
- Keenan Allen (2015, Chargers) -- 15
- Andre Rison (1994, Falcons) -- 14
- Davante Adams (2020, Packers) -- 14
- DeAndre Hopkins (2020, Cardinals) -- 14
Hopkins had just the fourth-best Week 1 performance by a wide receiver in Cardinals history. Boldin finished with 10 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' season opener back in 2003 while Fitzgerald had 13 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown in 2005. Sonny Randle finished with seven catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns in 1961. The 14 receptions Hopkins recorded are obviously a franchise record on opening day.
Hopkins entered the 2020 season with the third-most receptions and the seventh-most receptions through a player's first seven seasons in NFL history, surrounding himself with future Hall of Famers at the position. Not much has changed for Hopkins through the first 111 games of his career, all of which he has started.
Most receptions through player's first 111 games
Most receiving yards through player's first 111 games
- Julio Jones (10,731)
- Calvin Johnson (9,676)
- Lance Alworth (9,608)
- Torry Holt (9,567)
- Antonio Brown (9,403)
Hopkins is 11th on the all-time list with 8,753 yards, but he is averaging 5.8 catches per contest. If Hopkins keeps up that pace through 16 seasons and plays all 16 games each year, he'll be at 1,397 catches though his age 36 season -- which would be second all-time behind Jerry Rice (1,549). This just demonstrates how good Hopkins has been since he entered the league, one of the most reliable wideouts the game as ever seen.
Now let's take a look at where Hopkins stacks up thought eight NFL seasons -- and keep in mind he just started year eight this past week.
Most receiving yards through player's first eight seasons
- Julio Jones (10,731)
- Torry Holt (10,675)
- Calvin Johnson (10,405)
- Jerry Rice (10,273)
- Randy Moss (10,147)
Hopkins is currently 15th on the all-time list even though he has played just one game into his eighth season. He needs just 1,395 yards over his final 15 games to surpass Moss and break into the top five and just 298 yards to pass Brandon Marshall for 10th.
Most receptions through player's first eight seasons
- Marvin Harrison (759)
- Antonio Brown (733)
- Torry Holt (712)
- Brandon Marshall (712)
- Julio Jones (698)
Hopkins is 10th with 646 catches, and again, he is just one game into his eighth season. He needs just 53 catches over the final 15 games to pass Jones for 5th and 114 catches to eclipse Harrison and top this list. Those numbers are certainly attainable in Arizona, even though Hopkins will be splitting targets with Fitzgerald (second all-time in catches) and Christian Kirk.
No matter how Hopkins' first season in Arizona turns out, it's safe to assume O'Brien made a mistake in trading him. Hopkins is entering the prime of his career in an offense tailor-made to get him the ball and rack up receptions. Sunday's historic performance is just the beginning of how dominant Hopkins can be with the Cardinals.
Other fun Week 1 stats
- Gardner Minshew finished 19 of 20 for 173 yards and 3 TD in the Jacksonville Jaguars win over the Indianapolis Colts. He's the fourth player in NFL history to throw at least 3 TD passes and complete at least 95% of his passes in a single game, joining Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and Marcus Mariota.
Lamar Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to have three 3+ TD games and a 150+ passer rating (minimum 10 attempts) in his first three seasons. Jackson finished 20 of 25 for 275 yards with 3 TD, 0 INT, and a 152.1 passer rating. In his last nine regular season games, Jackson has completed 70.6% of his passes for 1,752 yards, and 28 touchdowns to just one interception for a 133.1 passer rating. He also has 675 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire became the youngest player in NFL history with 130+ rushing yards (138) and a touchdown in his debut (21 years, 152 days). The 138 rushing yards were the eighth-best in the Super Bowl era for a player making his debut.
Larry Fitzgerald has 244 consecutive games with a catch after recording a reception in the first quarter of the Cardinals' win over the 49ers Sunday. The streak is second only to Jerry Rice (274). Rice had five games where he failed to record a reception while Fitzgerald has only one.