The Buffalo Bills have only employed Stefon Diggs for 15 games, but it has provided them with more than enough evidence the franchise has won their offseason trade with the Minnesota Vikings that netted the Pro Bowl wide receiver. Diggs has made an immediate impact in Buffalo, catching 120 passes for 1,459 yards and eight touchdowns (12.2 yards per catch) in his first season with the team. Some believe he is the biggest factor for the offensive transformation to one of the NFL's passing juggernauts.
Diggs has transformed the Bills offense from one of the worst in the league to one of the best. The Bills ranked 24th in the league in total yards in 2019 to fourth in 2020 while improving their points per game from 19.6 (23rd in league) to 29.7 (sixth). Buffalo is just 14 points away from setting a franchise record for points in a season (458), which was set in 1991. Buffalo has already set a franchise record for passing yards (4,243) in a season and are just four passing touchdowns (currently at 36) away from setting a new franchise record in that category (39) -- a byproduct of the impact Diggs has had on that offense.
The Bills are in the midst of their best season since 1993 -- when they reached the last of their four consecutive Super Bowl appearances -- largely due to the presence of Diggs. In this week's "By The Numbers," we take a look at Diggs shattering the franchise record books and how he's having the best season for a pass catcher in his first year with a new team.
Most receptions in Bills history (season)
- Stefon Diggs (2020) -- 120
- Eric Moulds (2002) -- 100
- Eric Moulds (2000) -- 94
- Peerless Price (2002) -- 94
- Andre Reed (1994) -- 90
Most receiving yards in Bills history (season)
- Stefon Diggs (2020) -- 1,459
- Eric Moulds (1998) -- 1,368
- Eric Moulds (2000) -- 1,326
- Andre Reed (1989) -- 1,312
- Andre Reed (1994) -- 1,303
2020 NFL leaders (receptions)
- Stefon Diggs (Bills) -- 120
- DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) -- 111
- Davante Adams (Packers) -- 109
- Travis Kelce (Chiefs) -- 105
- Keenan Allen (Chargers) -- 100
- Allen Robinson (Bears) -- 100
2020 NFL leaders (receiving yards)
- Stefon Diggs (Bills) -- 1,459
- Travis Kelce (Chiefs) -- 1,416
- DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) -- 1,372
- Davante Adams (Packers) -- 1,328
- Calvin Ridley (Falcons) -- 1,322
2020 NFL leaders (receiving yards per game)
- Davante Adams (Packers) -- 102.2
- Stefon Diggs (Bills) -- 97.3
- Travis Kelce (Chiefs) -- 94.4
- Calvin Ridley (Falcons) -- 94.4
- DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) -- 91.5
Diggs is clearly one of the top two wide receivers in football -- depending on which fan base is asked is No. 1 -- in 2020, showcasing how dominant he's been at the position. Diggs only had over 100 catches in a season once before the trade to Buffalo and his highest receiving yardage total was 1,130 last season (he's had two 1,000-yard seasons prior to the trade).
The Bills wideout went from good to great in his first season with the team, as Buffalo has utilized its spread offense to his advantage. Diggs is second in the league in yards before contact (the number of yards gained before first contact from a defender) with 1,027 -- behind only Calvin Ridley. Bills quarterback Josh Allen has a 115.5 passer rating when targeting Diggs, which is eighth in the NFL among the pass catchers with over 100 targets.
As for Allen? Diggs has significantly helped the Bills quarterback become the most improved player in the NFL in 2020. Allen broke the Bills single-season record for passing touchdowns in Week 16 (34), and is just 40 yards away (4,320) from setting Buffalo's single-season passing yards record -- set by Drew Bledsoe in 2002 (4,359).
No Bills player has ever led the league in receptions and receiving yards in a season. Diggs is in position to finish first in both categories. Let's take a look at how Diggs has compared to other top wide receivers in their first season with a new team.
Most receptions (first season with new team)
- Stefon Diggs (2020 Bills) -- 120
- Brandon Marshall (2012 Bears) -- 118
- Wes Welker (2007 Patriots) -- 112
- Terance Mathis (1994 Falcons) -- 111
- DeAndre Hopkins (2020 Cardinals) -- 111
Most receiving yards (first season with new team)
- Brandon Marshall (2012 Bears) -- 1,508
- Randy Moss (2007 Patriots) -- 1,493
- Santana Moss (2005 Washington) -- 1,483
- Stefon Diggs (2020 Bills) -- 1,459
- Henry Ellard (1994 Washington) -- 1,397
Most receiving yards per game (first season with new team)
- Bobby Mitchell (1962 Washington) -- 98.9*
- Stefon Diggs (2020 Bills) -- 97.3
- Brandon Marshall (2012 Bears) -- 94.3
- Randy Moss (2007 Patriots) -- 93.3
- Art Powell (1963 Raiders) -- 93.1*
Most receiving TD (first season with new team)
- Randy Moss (2007 Patriots) -- 23
- Art Powell (1963 Raiders) -- 16*
- Terrell Owens (2004 Eagles) -- 14
- Harold Jackson (1973 Rams) -- 13*
- Lionel Taylor (1960 Broncos) -- 12*
- Patrick Jeffers (1999 Panthers) -- 12
- Bob Shaw (1950 Cardinals) -- 12*
*Stefon Diggs has 8 TD in 2020
Diggs still has an opportunity to extend his receptions record and has a chance to pass Moss for the most receiving yards in his first season with a new team. Diggs needs just 50 yards to pass Moss and needs to get to 1,584 receiving yards to surpass Mitchell for most receiving yards per game in his first season with his new team -- so he needs 125 yards to set that mark (he currently has the record for a 16-game season).
Moss is the gold standard for the best season for a pass catcher in his debut season with a new team (98 catches, 1,493 yards, 23 touchdowns) as the 2007 Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season --and reached the Super Bowl. Terrell Owens isn't far behind with the 2004 Eagles (77 catches, 1,200 yards, 14 touchdowns), playing a major role in the Eagles getting to the Super Bowl for the first time in 24 years. Brandon Marshall had the most receptions and currently holds the receiving yards record for a pass catcher in year one with a new team, as the Bears finished 10-6 in 2012 -- but missed the playoffs.
Diggs already has the most catches and is expected to surpass Marshall in receiving yards on this list. He'll be in the conversation for the best first season for a wide receiver with a new team regardless, but the Bills' success in the postseason will determine if Diggs deserves to be No. 1.
Getting the Bills to the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years will certainly end that conversation.