Blog Entry

Race for the rushing title

Posted on: December 30, 2010 5:31 pm
J. Charles (US Presswire)Posted by Andy Benoit

Rushing titles have always been a big deal in the NFL – a bigger deal than any other statistical category, in fact. Why do teams and players care more about a rushing title than other statistical achievements? The guess here is because a rushing title honors seven players: the running back (of course), his fullback/tight end and his five offensive linemen.

As we roll into Week 17, there are three players vying for the top rushing mark: Houston’s Arian Foster (1,436 yards), Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (1,380 yards) and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (1,325 yards).

All three have a known desire to finish No. 1. Gary Kubiak told the media this week that Foster’s rushing title is important to the team. Charles said he wants to play in the Chiefs’ meaningless game against the Raiders because the team is trying to win…and he’s “still trying to get the rushing title”. And we’ll assume that Chris Johnson wants to defend his title because, well, everything Chris Johnson has said the past 12 months seems to indicate that he cares very much about his resume. (Can’t blame him – he’s still looking for that mega contract.)

Charles’ situation is the most interesting of the bunch. If he does get the title, it’s a safe guess he’d be the first player in NFL history to do so as a backup (he’s started six games this season). If he doesn’t play at all, he preserves his 6.4 yards per carry average on the season, which ties Jim Brown’s all-time record.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 7:01 am

Race for the rushing title

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 12:10 am

Race for the rushing title

It's a very solid extraordinary experience to tell you generally relish your work. You are usually managing an ideal organization. Remember to keep our own spirit more.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: January 2, 2011 10:46 am

Race for the rushing title

Thanks for taking the time to break down the numbers. Charles has proven to be the best RB in the game in my book as well. To think that should Charles not play, that, he could tie Jim Brown's all-time record of 6.4 per is astounding for a guy who has started in only 6 games. The next 3 spots are difficult considering what their place is in their respective offenses. Playing against the Titans, the various defenses concentrate solely on shutting down Johnson ,which makes his numbers pretty impressive. Foster, certainly has Andre Johnson as a threat downfield to aid in spreading defenses, which of course, aids his numbers somewhat as Houston sports a much more balanced offense. While, there are a number of variables to consider including toughness of schedule, I would give Darren McFadden the nod at #2 behind Charles based on the fact that there isn't the standout receiver nor the QB to deliver, which has defenses centering their attentions on stopping McFadden. His numbers are impressive for being the catalyst of the offense. Charles does have Bowe and a solid QB to deliver the ball to but his numbers are just impressive period. Dude's been primarily a backup, which in my mind, makes it a little more difficult sometimes to develop a feel for the game and in getting your legs under you with more touches.

So, my order would be Charles, McFadden, Johnson, and then Foster but have to say that the NFL has an awful lot of very good RBs right now, for those who appreciate the running game as much as I do. I also have to throw MJD into the fray and if not out for the season would be 4th or 5th on my list,as, he is another guy that defenses really focus on, even though, Garrard has put together a nice season throwing the ball. This should add some theater to the final week of the season and one wonders just how much Charles will be allowed to play because KC needs him come playoff time. The other 3 RBs have nothing to lose in this the last week of the season for all of them and I'm sure all will be a lot of touches as winning the running title is about more than the back,as, it is also a feather in the cap for the O-line, who open those holes for their guy. I can't wait for the games to begin!

Since: Jan 23, 2008
Posted on: January 2, 2011 12:30 am

Race for the rushing title

What you say about Hillis is what you can say about Steven Jackson every year he's been in the NFL... he has to fight for every yard.

Since: Oct 3, 2009
Posted on: January 1, 2011 10:00 am

Race for the rushing title

Although peyton hillis doesnt have the numbers posted by the other backs you gotta give hime some serious street cred for his efforts. Cleveland is more one dimensional than most other teams and no where near the quality of qb ( although mccoy has potential) which makes the numbers put up by hillis that much more amazing and big games against tough defences. Hillis has simply worn out in these last few games since defences simply box him in. Hes taking a pounding and keeps going. Hes a physical rb and gets the tuff yards. Its simplt too bad that awards are simply determined by numbers. I have no disrespect for charles or foster( had them both on my fantasy teams) but hillis carried the whole team and did an amazing job this year. Hes a great back and hope that the browns passing game improves because they have playoff potential imho for 2011

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:13 pm

Race for the rushing title

Sorry to say no one cares who the best running back is, this is a story on the rushing title period.

Since: Oct 10, 2008
Posted on: December 31, 2010 2:00 am

Race for the rushing title

No matter which running back wins the title, there's no doubt in my mind that Jamaal Charles is the best running back in the NFL. He does more with the ball than any other running back.

When you compare the numbers on Arian Foster to Jamaal Charles, you will find that Foster's numbers are a little higher in yardage. He comes in with 1,436 yards rushing that carries a 4.9 average. He also has 80 more rushing attempts. Give Charles those extra attempts and you will find (based off of average/6.4) that he would have around 512 more yards for a total of 1,892 yards rushing.

On the receiving end of these two running backs, Foster has 64 receptions for 594 yards for an average of 9.3 yards per reception. Jamaal Charles is sitting on 43 receptions with 455 yards that has a 10.6 per reception average. Arian Foster has 101 more touches of the ball than Charles has. Foster's average per touch is 5.6, while Charles has a 7.1 yard average.

If you give Jamaal Charles those same amount of touches on rushing attempts and the same amount of receptions, Charles would be sitting on (based off averages) 2,552 total yards with one game remaining. Chris Johnson last year (2009 season) had 2,506 total yards.

There's two running backs that aren't mentioned in this article. The first is Maurice Jones Drew (MJD) who has 1,324 yards. He would also be in the mix of the rushing title. He holds a 4.4 rushing average along with a 9.3 reception average. His average per touch on the ball is only a 4.9 average.

The other running back who is a very long shot for the title, who I consider the second best running back in the NFL, would be Darren McFadden. Here's a back that has only 11 more touches than Jamaal Charles. The same scenerio can be brought forth on him as I put on Jamaal Charles, Give McFadden those extra 90 touches, he would be second to only Charles. McFadden has a 5.2 yard per rush average along with a 10.8 (leads NFL) reception average. He carries a 6.1 yards per touch average.

It's all about getting the opportunity to prove yourself as a player in any sport. Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, MJD, Peyton Hillis, Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, are the featured running backs of their teams. They have had a better opportunity than Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden have had this season. The title is based off of yards and yards only. Maybe there should be more involved with giving out this award. What you do with the ball on each opportunity is how I consider the best running back in the NFL. Jamaal Charles is definetly the best.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or