Could Cedric Benson give the Packers an Opening Game 100-yard rusher in 2012?
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Here’s a quick trivia question: Can you name the last Packers running back to gain 100 or more yards in the Pack’s first game of the season?
Before we answer that question, the Packers made news this weekend with the signing of former Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson. The 29-year-old Benson has gained 1,000-plus yards in three straight seasons and will hopefully give the Packers some depth at the running back position.
As a tie-in to the above trivia question, Benson also gained 121 yards on 25 carries in the Bengals opening game last season against the Cleveland Browns.
Trivia answer: Ahman Green was the last Packer to gain 100-plus yards rushing on Opening Day. Green accomplished this in 2006 when he gained 110 yards in the Packers 26-0 loss to the Bears.
Green is one of only two players to have a 100-yard rushing game in the first game of the season; he accomplished this four times in his career in Green Bay. The other player: Eddie Lee Ivery.
Following are the Packers runners who gained 100 or more yards in the Packers first game of a season.
Running Back, Year, Yards rushing
Ahman Green, 2001, 157 yards
Ahman Green, 2002, 155 yards
Ahman Green, 2004, 119 yards
Ahman Green, 2006, 110 yards
Eddie Lee Ivery, 1982, 109 yards
In looking at all 32 teams, there are six teams that have not had a 100-yard rusher in their first game of the season this century. The longest drought comes from the Cleveland Browns who have not had a running back gain 100 or more yards in an Opening Game since 1982 when Mike Pruitt gained 136 yards in their opening contest against Seattle.
Following is the last year that each team had a runner gain 100 yards in their first game of the season.
1982: Cleveland (Mike Pruitt)
1995: New England (Curtis Martin)
1996: Detroit (Barry Sanders)
1998: Jacksonville (James Stewart); San Francisco (Garrison Hearst)
1999: Dallas (Emmitt Smith)
2005: Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Washington
2006: Green Bay, San Diego, St. Louis
2007: Denver, Indianapolis
2008: Arizona, Chicago, N.Y. Giants
2009: Minnesota, New Orleans, N.Y. Jets, Seattle
2010: Pittsburgh, Tennessee
2011: Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston, Oakland, Philadelphia
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