MIAMI -- The Saints' season ended with a disappointing first-round departure in the NFL playoffs, but their 2019 came to a close on a high on Saturday night, when receiver Michael Thomas was named the Offensive Player of the Year after a record-setting season.
He barely beat out Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who finished two votes behind Thomas. Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey received the third-most votes with 12 while Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes each earned one vote.
As the Saints emerged as the NFC South champions with a 13-3 record, Thomas was his normal reliable self, catching 80.5 percent of his targets. He racked up career highs in receptions (149) and receiving yards (1,725) while tying his career high in touchdown catches with nine -- marking the third time in his four-year career he's grabbed nine touchdowns in a single season.
Thomas actually set an NFL record in receptions, beating Marvin Harrison's mark (143) that he set in 2002, and he led the league in receiving yards by a wide margin. Julio Jones, the next closest player, finished with 331 fewer yards than Thomas.
What makes Thomas' season that much more impressive is that he operated without Drew Brees for five full games. Even with backup Teddy Bridgewater for five starts, Thomas averaged 8.4 receptions and 110.2 yards per game.
Thomas is the first receiver to win Offensive Player of the Year since Jerry Rice in 1993, which is the same year Thomas was born.