32 Observations, Week 4

Nathan Jahnke takes his weekly look at a league-wide set of stats, noting a point of interest for each team and focusing this time on the running backs.

| 4 years ago

32 Observations, Week 4

2013-32-Obs-WK04Last week the 32 Observations took a look at passers, so the next logical group to look at are the runners and we’ll focus here on just the running backs as opposed to including any running QBs. While some are on pace for the best year of their career, for many runners it has been a down year so far. Here are some quick stats for each team:

*All rankings are based on the 48 running backs with at least 20 carries so far this year.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: There have been five times where C.J. Spiller has gotten the ball with 1 or 2 yards needed for a first down. None of those runs went for first downs.

Miami Dolphins: When Lamar Miller runs to the left, he has 140 yards on 24 carries for 5.8 YPA. When he runs to the right, he has 56 yards on 19 carries for 2.9 YPA, or half as many yards per attempt.

New England Patriots: Backup LeGarrette Blount has exactly 17 carries with a fullback on the field and 17 carries without. With one he averages 6.2 yards per carryk, and without one he averages 2.5, which is the second biggest difference in the league.

New York Jets: When Bilal Powell runs outside of the tackles, he is averaging 6.0 yards per carry with 173 yards on 29 attempts. When he runs inside the tackles that drops to 3.2 yards per carry with 119 yards on 37 attempts.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice has had 60.0% of his carries go for 2 yards or fewer which is fourth-worst in the league. Right behind him is Bernard Pierce who is at 58.9%, fifth-worst.

Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard is the only back to have half of his carries go for 5 or more yards. In comparison, only 19.2% of BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ carries have gone for 5 or more yards which is the second-worst rate in the league.

Cleveland Browns: Of the 48 backs with 20 or more carries, Willis McGahee is one of just two backs to not have a run of 10 or more yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are the only team without a back with 20 or more carries. The only back to have any game with 4.0 yards per carry or more in a game is Felix Jones in Week 3 who had 34 yards on seven carries for a 4.9 rushing average.

AFC South

Houston Texans: When the Texans are losing, Arian Foster has 24 carries for just 58 yards for a 2.4 YPA. When they are tied he has 25 carries for 103 yards and a much better 4.1 YPA. When they are winning he is even better with 131 yards on 27 carries for 4.9 YPA.

Indianapolis Colts: Amongst the 48 qualifying running backs, five have had two or more attempts on the 1 yard line. Two of those five are Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw. They each have two carries for two touchdowns.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Part of Maurice Jones-Drew’s slow start to the year is his offensive line. He has an average of 0.88 yards before contact per carry which is the third-lowest in the league.

Tennessee Titans: The player with the most redzone carries so far is Chris Johnson with 17. However he has yet to convert one of those touches into a touchdown.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: Of Ronnie Hillman’s 25 carries, 20 have gone for 3 or more yards. That 80% is the best rate in the league.

Kansas City Chiefs: When Jamaal Charles has a fullback on the field, he averages 5.3 yards per carry on his 47 attempts. When there is not a fullback on the field that is down to 1.7 yards per carry on 23 attempts. That is a 3.6 yards per carry difference which is the third-largest in the league.

Oakland Raiders: The leader in runs of at least 24 yards is Darren McFadden with four so far this year. His 7.5% rate is the best in the league. Not far behind is Rashad Jennings at 4.8% which is the third-best rate.

San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews has 33 carries that have gone for 4 or more yards, which is tied for the fourth in the league.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: DeMarco Murray has had eight players miss tackles on him in the third quarter of games, which is the league’s second-best mark. He only has four players who have missed tackles on him in the other three quarters.

New York Giants: When David Wilson has run between the tackles he has been a good back with 113 yards on 21 attempts for a 5.4 yards per attempt average. The problem comes in when he runs outside the tackles where he has 17 yards on 17 carries.

Philadelphia Eagles: So far LeSean McCoy has been most effective when running right down the middle of the field. He has 162 yards on 20 carries. His 8.1 YPA is the best in the league, and is more than double the league average of 3.9.

Washington Redskins: While Alfred Morris has 15 more carries in each of the first three quarters, he only has two carries for 7 yards in the fourth quarter.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: Matt Forte has had 34 runs to the left and 34 runs to the right so far this year. He has 105 yards on when running to the left, and 217 when running to the right.

Detroit Lions: When Reggie Bush or Joique Bell have tried to run to the ends, they’ve had 15 yards on 12 attempts. When running between the ends, they have 379 yards on 77 attempts. Bell averages 4.0 yards per attempt more inside the ends than outside, and Bush averages 3.7 more which are the second- and third-highest differences in the league.

Green Bay Packers: James Starks has had 29.4% of his carries go for 9 or more yards which is the best rate in the league.

Minnesota Vikings: In the first half of games, Adrian Peterson has 264 yards on 42 carries for 6.3 YPA. In the second half he has 50 carries, but only 157 yards which cuts his yards per attempt in half. His difference between the first and second half is the third-largest in the league.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: As a team, the further the team runs to the right, the better their yards per carry. Running in the left end, left tackle or left guard gap, they average 2.3 yards per carry. In the middle left gap that goes up to 3.2, middle right 3.8, right guard 4.0, right tackle 4.6 and right end 8.9.

Carolina Panthers: Typically running backs are better against a nickel defense than a base defense, with the average being 3.8 yards per carry against a base and 4.8 yards per carry against a nickel. Oddly enough DeAngelo Williams has been better against a base defense with 240 yards on 49 carries for 4.9 yards per carry, while he’s had just 46 yards on 11 carries for 4.2 yards per carry against a nickel defense.

New Orleans Saints: Eight of Pierre Thomas’ 29 carries have gone for a loss. That is 27.6% of his carries, which is the highest rate in the league. In comparison, none of Darren Sproles’ 22 carries have gone for a loss which is the best rate in the league.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: When Doug Martin is facing a defense with four or fewer defensive backs on the field, he has just 147 yards on 64 attempts. When he is facing a defense with five or more defensive backs, he has 195 yards on 36 carries. He averages 3.1 yards per carry more with more defensive backs, which is the fifth-biggest difference in the league.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: Of Rashard Mendenhall’s 53 carries, 20 have gone outside the ends which is a 38.5% rate which is third-highest in the league.

St. Louis Rams: Daryl Richardson is averaging just 1.48 yards after contact per carry, which is fourth-worst of the qualifying running backs.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are known for running the ball and for good reason. Frank Gore has had 9.8% of his carries go for 15 or more yards which is the best rate in the league. The second best rate belongs to Kendall Hunter at 9.1%.

Seattle Seahawks: Only 27.8% of Marshawn Lynch’s carries have gone outside of the tackle and for good reason. He only averages 2.5 yards per attempt outside of the tackles compared to 4.4 inside of the tackles.


Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • cka2nd

    If you take away the 138 yards that Adrian Peterson has from his two longest runs of the year (78 in the 1st Q against Detroit and 60 in the 2nd Q against Pittsburgh), his first half total is 40 rushes for 126 yards, an average of 3.15 yeards per rush, virtually the same as his second half average of 3.14. Maybe he’s broken two long runs in the first half because he’s fresher, but I think the real problem is that the Vikings have failed to establish a decent first- or second-half running game so far, and relying on Peterson to tear off just one blockbuster run evey other game or so won’t cut it.

    • Defiancy

      And what point does removing those runs do? They still happened they still count. Anything can be spun in anyway if you cherry pick stats.

      Just because he has averaged 3.15 yards per rush outside of those two rushes, doesn’t mean tomorrow he won’t bust out another rush for 80 yards.

      Gotta take everything into consideration when evaluating, not just one sample of a whole.