Outside the Box: Knile Davis
There are certain common statistics that have been drilled in to the brains of NFL fans as benchmarks for defining standout performances; the 100-yard rushing day among them. It’s easy to have a peek at the box score and run with the usual storyline, chalking up a strong day for a running back based on him hitting triple digits on the ground, but there’s often more to be told.
One such case came to the forefront this week as Kansas City’s Knile Davis, while getting the start in place of injured Jamaal Charles, eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time in his young career. Many Chiefs fans, riding the high of a much-needed win in Miami, were no doubt scratching their heads when they saw Davis’ overall PFF grade for the game come in at a significantly low mark of -6.6.
So how can the grade be so far off from general perception? Sure, he scored fantasy points but did he really turn in “the best game of his career”? It’s largely a product of taking in the whole picture, or not taking it in, as the case may be.
Davis finished with 132 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. The touchdown run was impressive and is an easy one to lodge in memory as he made multiple moves – and made multiple defenders miss – on his way to the end zone from 21 yards out.
All told, 64 of Davis’ rushing yards (48%) came on that run and three others, and each of those – and a few more — received positive marks, but that’s about where the feel-good portion of his outing ended. His other 28 carries amounted to an average of 2.4 yards per and were largely pedestrian until you get to his two fumbles.
Those two significant downgrades along with the normalization process that is applied to all players per positional expectations, meant that even the good vibes from his TD run and his yardage total weren’t enough to avoid a negative in the rushing category.
But, as is the case with all positions on the field, there’s more than one facet of play to be judged. Davis was on the field for 54 snaps and 20 of those were pass plays. Targeted only once on the various short backfield routes he ran, Davis dropped the lone ball that came his way, sending his receiving grade into the red as well.
And, when asked to stay in and pass block – an underappreciated but vitally important aspect of running back play — on a small handful of snaps, Davis struggled, as he was charged with a sack and a hurry (another sack initially on his book was removed during our regular review process), resulting in another negative mark tugging his overall down.
Taken together, negatives for rushing, receiving, and pass blocking added up to Davis’ disappointing overall grade as presented in our Premium Stats section and reflect his whole body of work on the day, not just the eye-catching, but overly simplistic, box score stat line.
Follow Rick on Twitter