Running Back Breakdown: Run Lengths – Part 1

Which running backs are breaking the big runs most regularly? We take a look.

| 1 year ago
RB Week 4

Running Back Breakdown: Run Lengths – Part 1

RB Week 4We have broken down quarterback play and our receiver route data over the last several weeks, and now we are going to give running backs a similar treatment by taking a closer look at their success and usage from a statistical standpoint. Naturally, there is a correlation between running back statistical performance and offensive line blocking, but we believe our grading still provides the best overall picture of a player’s success beyond their blocking.

Beyond traditional rushing data, we gather a whole host of extra information on each rushing play. From the specific gap of the point of attack to run concepts and blocking schemes to first contact defender and location, all of which is utilized by NFL teams. Which player has the most success running ‘power’ concept plays? Who really faces eight defenders in the box the most often? Do players see a benefit from running behind a lead backfield blocker?

-To qualify, a running back must have had a minimum of 70 rush attempts, with 62 players meeting the qualification.

-Post-season data is included.

Run Lengths

Today we are covering overall run lengths for the running backs, starting with who has the highest percentage of longer runs and how those carries make up their total yardage. Run lengths provide a good picture of how a running back and his offensive line are doing together. It can also highlight players who have a significant portion of their total yards coming on just a handful of runs.

Highest Percentage of 20+ Yard Runs


— Justin Forsett and DeMarco Murray tied for the league lead with 17 runs of 20-plus yards and were the only two to reach double-digits. However, Forsett did so on 164 fewer rush attempts.

— No one’s 20-plus yard runs accounted for a higher percentage of their total yards than C.J. Spiller’s at 41 percent. He gained 122 yards on his three longest runs, and just 178 yards on his other 75 carries.

— With two Ravens in the Top 10, Baltimore led the league with 24 runs of 20 yards or more.

Highest Percentage of 10+ Yard Runs


— Forsett once again tops the list, and his 60 percent of total yards coming on 10-plus yard runs was the highest in the league.

— Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell made the Top 10 behind our seventh-ranked run blocking offensive line, but teammate Terrance West ranked 55th out of 62 running backs.

Highest Percentage of 5+ Yard Runs


— Two pairs of teammates rank in the Top 10 of percentage of runs that went for 5 or more yards.

— Miami running backs gained five or more yards on 42.5 percent of their carries, five percent higher than second place Seattle and 10 percent higher than the league average.

— Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram have been the more well-known backfield players for the Saints the last couple years, but its Khiry Robinson who represents New Orleans on five-plus yard runs.


Follow Matt on Twitter: @PFF_Matt


| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

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