Jets RB Breece Hall, who totaled 1,585 scrimmage yards coming off an ACL injury, was not one of the finalists for the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Award, which were announced Thursday at noon.
Here's why he should have been considered.
Hall sustained the injury Week 7 at Denver in 2022, but did not miss a game this season as he ran for 994 yards and had 591 yards receiving. All-Pro Christian McCaffrey was the only running back in the NFL with more total yards. Hall became the fourth Jet since 2000 to surpass 1,500 yards from scrimmage and the first RB since Thomas Jones in 2008.
Hall, in his second season in the NFL, became one of 15 players since 2000 to record at least 1,500 yards, 200 rushes and 75 receptions in a single season. His 76 receptions and 591 yards led all NFL backs.
"He turned the corner at some point in the second half of the season," HC Robert Saleh said. "Right around the Atlanta game [Week 13]. Just completely shifted where it looked like he was completely healthy with the mindset to run and finish and not try to get the big one, but take what the defense was giving. It's not a coincidence that it followed with great production. If he continues that mindset and he keeps that going into next year, he's going to be a problem."
From Week 13-18 (Dec. 3-Jan. 7), Hall accounted for 425 rushing yards, 38 receptions and 271 receiving yards. That would be on pace for 1,972 scrimmage yards (1,204 rushing, 768 receiving) over a 17-game season, which would be a franchise record. Hall of Fame RB Curtis Martin holds the Green & White's single season record with 1,942 yards in 2004.
Hall, drafted in the second-round out of Iowa State in 2022, showed a knack for making big plays his rookie season and didn't miss a beat in the 2023 season. He had four 50-plus yard plays this season including an 83-yard rush against the Bills in Week 1 in his first game returning from his injury. He didn't score on that run, perhaps as he was getting his football legs back, but found the end zone the other three– a 72-yard run at Denver in Week 5 (Oct. 8), a 50-yard catch-and-run against the Giants in Week 8 (Oct. 29)and a 50-yard run in Week 18 (Jan. 7) at New England that helped put the game on ice as the Jets snapped their 15-game losing streak to the Patriots.
"For me, to be coming off an ACL and be dealing with people halfway through the season saying I took a step back and I don't look as good and things like that, I just used it as internal motivation," he said after the season finale. "I just kept pushing every week. I'm happy to say I played a 17-game season and being able to finish it out with a win is great."
The finalists for the award are Browns QB Joe Flacco, Bills S Damar Hamlin, Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield, Rams QB Matthew Stafford and Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.