Blog Entry

2,000 Yard Rushers

Posted on: August 8, 2010 10:21 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 12:01 pm
There have been only six NFL running backs to eclipt the 2,000 yard mark rushing, and I will explain to you what I think is the best rushers to do so. It's not a career thing, it's a single season thing. These are the best 2,000 yard seasons in my opinion.
WARNING: This may offend you...Barry Sanders fans.
1. Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos, is the best 2,000 yard rusher I have ever seen and in my heart, is the best RB I have ever seen play the game. There was a great reason why John Elway didn't win a title until his last two seasons, and that reason was Terrell Davis. Davis punished defenders in every facet of the game. He would juke you and if the defender didn't buy the juke, he would bull doze his way through. Many will say that Mike Shanahan's zone blcoking scheme had many RBs gain over 1,000 yards, but the fact was Shanahan could never find another like Davis who destroyed opponents. Davis may not have had that flashy TD score, but he did what football die hards appreciate the most...he mad the trenches even more painful for defenses. Elway rarely had to deal with a long situation because it was a guarantee that Davis was going to win yards with just his effort.
2. Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams- Dickerson led a team with absolutely nothing to the playoffs and played in a close game, lost 10-7 to the NY Giants. He had Jeff Kemp for a QB and his leading WR had 34 catches for the entire season. Yet, Dickerson was able to earn over 2,000 yards. If there is any RB in the history of the NFL who had nothing, it was Eric Dickerson, and he shattered a record in the process. Dickerson did gain over 120 yards in the Rams defeat in the playoffs.
3. Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens- Lewis came into the NFL and helped a bad offensive team win a super bowl. His 2,000 yard season didn't happen until a couple of years after the super bowl run. Everybody remembers that Trent Dilfer was the QB for the Ravens when they won a super bowl. What people refuse to remember is that Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright were the Ravens QBs during Jamal Lewis' phenomenal season over 2,000 yards. It did help playing the Browns twice during that season, but a division title is a division title. Lewis' only help was TE Todd Heap who led the team in receptions with 57 receptions. Who was their best WR? Travis Taylor. Need I say more?
4. OJ Simpson, Buffalo Bills- Simpson had his single season rushing yars records broken, but I think he is secure to never have his yards per game average broken. Simpson averaged 143 yards per game in his then NFL record season. He only played 14 games which was the standard in the NFL during his era. Dickerson broke his record but at fewer yards per game due to the elongated season. Simpson's Bills had a respectable 9-5 record, but back in his days, it wasn't good enough to make the playoffs. Simpson didn't have any help at all either when it came to receivers taking the pressure off the running back. The leading WR for the Bills had 30 receptions in his record year. OJ may be hated for reasons off the football field, understandably so, but the fact remains he was one of the best in the NFL at running the ball.
5. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans- Sanders fans have to be stewing by now, but let me make my last few points. Chris Johnson, the only player to rush for than 2,000 yards whose team didn't make the playoffs in the modern era, was the only focus of the Tennessee Titans. Johnson, like others on this list had no help. His biggest fault is that his team dedicated the end of their season to helping him get over 2,000 yards. Their goal was to break the record and they fell short. The Titans had the worst record out of all the 2,000 yard rushers, but when you look at their roster, it was of no surprise. What makes Johnson's season great is that he was only in his second season and he also shatter Marshal Faulk's single season record for total yards. What that means is that not only was Johnson a threat with the ball out of the backfield, he was a threat catching the ball as well. Johnson had to deal with a QB change as well as having nothing for WRs to take the pressure off of him.
6. Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions- In my opinion, Barry Sanders' 2,000 yard season was the least important out of all of the RBs who conquered the feat. Sanders proved that age was not a factor in the record as he was 29 years old when he gained over 2,000 yards. However, Sanders greatness during the season did not translate into the playoffs. His amazing 6.1 yards a carry was almost cut in half in the playoffs versus the Buccaneers, the same team he burnt during the season for 215 yards. 18 carries for 65 yards does not cut it for a 2,000 yard rusher, and I don't care who the defense is. People can argue that Sanders' QB was ineffective, Scott Mitchell- 79 QB rating, but he had studs for WRs, Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton. Moore had 104 receptions and Morton had 80.
Terrell Davis is the only RB to gain over 2,000 yards and win a super bowl. Many want to claim he was just part of a great system, but I think he was the the reason why the system became great. Part of the greatness for a running back is making every yard count. Every time the QB gives you the ball, make it count. Part of making it count is by reading holes and not losing yards that can easily change the flow of the drive. Davis exemplified making every yard count. He refused to lose yardage and when the QB gave him the ball, it would be at worst, a different down with the same amount of yardage to go. Maybe it's his very short career or even the hype of John Elway, Elway deserves the hype, but Davis is lost in  the argument for greatest RBs of all time. Obviously, a bad RB doesn't get 2,000 yards. It's an elite class of its own. In my opinion, Terrell Davis leads that elite class. My argument for him other than that will continue...

Since: Dec 9, 2009
Posted on: November 13, 2012 5:54 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

"Terrell Davis is the only RB to gain over 2,000 yards and win a super bowl."  That's your criteria for a 2000+ yard season? "Seriously? Three good seasons and one amazing season followed by a combined 17 games in the next three seasons to sum up his career.  That's the best running back in your opinion?  The dude had John "Freaking" Elway for a QB!  Teams HAD to respect Elway in the pass regardless to whom he was passing, even though they just happened to be two 1000+ yard receivers Smith and McCaffrey, and a 10 TD TE Sharp.  All the defenses playing Detroit were designed to try to stop Barry Sanders.  Please, tell us just one team that went up against Detroit and said, "We have to stop Scott Mitchell from beating us."  The receivers were secondary to the dude under center.  Barry still gained over 2000 yards in that regard.  Put Barry Sanders of '97 on last year's Detroit team.  I don't hesitate to think 2200 yards.  Heck, Sanders of today could probably run better than anyone currently in the Lion's backfield.  For the majority of Sanders career he was a lone setback (no fullback blocking for him).  The argument that most people try to use against him is that he lost yards as much as he gained them.  Which is utter B.S. when you concider the former.

Since: Jan 1, 2009
Posted on: August 12, 2010 6:31 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

The thing that really chaps my ass is that he quit! If he was unhappy why not sign for a different team? if the line as some of you say was so bad why did sanders stay there? He could of signed with another team. I also would like to put in playing conditions. Davis had to play in some snow that most dont see unless they have to play aginst them.The air conditions there.I have seen so many players with an oxy mask because they couldnt breath. Then I see well denver is a backs dream. Ok what other RB came close to Davis After his injury? Ya they had some good backs. Noone that had Davis numbers. So Sanders quit! Davis injured and tryed his hardest to come back wasnt in the cards.

I will say i think both backs are top 5 to ever play the position. I just see that some of you dont consider all the factors in how do you compair one aginst another.   

Since: Aug 10, 2010
Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:36 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

jingkat, I agree but that is precisely why Barry Sanders 2,000 was the most amazing.    In comparing apples to apples, Barry had the highest YPA in the group with over 6 yards a carry.  If you look at the 14 game span where Barry did all his damage (going over 100 in 14 straight), he was at 6.5 YPA.

Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: August 11, 2010 2:06 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

I'm not from Buffalo, I do like the wings, its Simpson, 2000 yds in 14 games, he's not the best of the group, but he had the best season,but do not sell Chris johnson short, i think in overall yards he is outstanding.but its like the Babe Ruth, Roger  Maris  arguement , Maris had more games! GO back and compare over 14 games,see where they rank.

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:23 am

2,000 Yard Rushers

DrDallas you need to do some research.  First of all Barry Sanders had no fullback because of the type of offense he played in.  Bobby Ross started coaching Barry in 1997 when he had his 2,000 yards.  Ross brought in a full back to use for the first time and look what happened.  The fullbacks name was Tommy Vardell and Cory Schlesinger was also used.  That year Barry had 53 yards his first two games because he only got the ball about a dozen times, after that he went 14 straight games with over 100 yards and ended up with 2053.  To say that Barry wouldn't run with a full back is a foolish statement.

Since: Jul 26, 2010
Posted on: August 10, 2010 6:40 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

I love Terrell Davis but his 2000+ yard season was a by-product of the zone/cut blocking scheme utilized by Shannahan.  Look at the other backs who rushed for 1200+ yards under that system - Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson, Rheuben Droughns, Olandis Gary (1100+ yards in 12 games).  Clinton Portis was an ok back but his 5.5 yards per carry average with the Broncos were significantly higher than anything he did with the 'Skins (~4.0 y/a).  I'd have to put OJ at #1, since no other back has breached the 2000 yard mark after 14 games.  Until someone puts up that 2000/14 games, OJ will always be #1.  I'd put Davis #2 (Superbowl), Sanders #3 (inept offense), Dickerson #4, Lewis #5, Johnson #6.  #2-4 are interchangeable in my book, #1 set in stone and #5-6 superfluous in the grand scheme of things.

Since: Aug 10, 2010
Posted on: August 10, 2010 5:06 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

My bad, don't want to disrespect OJ's career.  He is in the same stratosphere.  But the point remains.  Barry is not overrated

Since: Aug 10, 2010
Posted on: August 10, 2010 5:01 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

I had to create a login name just to reply to this craziness.  Fine... have your opinions on what the best 2,000 yard rushing season was but don't, and I repeat DON'T besmirch the name of one Barry Sanders.

Mr. 10 Time All-Pro (10 for 10)
5 times over 1,500 yards (5 straight seasons)
Led the LEAGUE in rushing 4 times
2,000 yards in 14 GAMES (14 straight games over 100 yards)
10 straight years over 1,000 yards (10 for 10)
Career-wise, no RB on this list outside of Eric Dickerson is in the same ORBIT as Barry Sanders (I'd LOVE to see a valid argument).  You can single out individual seasons but Barry did it for 10 seasons straight.  How does a man who is "overrated" rush for 14 straight games over 100 yards???  How does a man who is "overrated" have a 10 year career where EVERY YEAR he goes over 1,000????  And I'm a Falcons fan

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: August 10, 2010 4:34 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers- The case for the Juice

OJ was better than the other five, and is in the top five on my list of all-time running backs. This is another case of many of the commenters being too young to recall how great OJ was that season and as an all-round back (before he got famous for all the wrong reasons!!). Teams at that time were geared up for the run more than in the current NFL era. What he did that season, and in two less games, was remarakable. The second choice on my list is Sanders......................

Since: Jul 25, 2010
Posted on: August 10, 2010 4:30 pm

2,000 Yard Rushers

Murderer or not - it has to be OJ for me.

Your admission nobody will ever come close to his per game average says it all. Let's see someone break 2000 in 14 games.

The other thing was that season, two or three of his games were played in heavy snow. There weren't all these fast turf domes back in those days either.

He can burn in hell for what he did (if he indeed did it) off the field, but on the field - he is the "purest" 2000 rusher of all time.

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