Monthly Archives: June, 2013

99 Stats Until Kickoff: (#32) Rushing title no contest for Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson (Photo credit: Mike Morbeck)

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson first made a lot of news this season when he came back from knee surgery and performed much better than anyone (except for maybe Peterson himself) had expected.

Peterson last season became the seventh runner in NFL history to gain 2,000-plus yards (he gained 2,097) and fell nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s all-time record for most rushing yards in a season. “AP” did win his second rushing title in 2012; his first was in 2008 when he outdistanced Atlanta’s Michael Turner by a mere 61 yards for that year’s rushing crown.

What makes Peterson’s rushing title last season interesting is that unlike his narrow win in 2008, this 2012 rushing title was no contest. Peterson’s 2,097 yards was 484 yards more than runner-up, Washington Redskins’ rookie Alfred Morris. It was the fifth largest margin for a rushing title since 1970 (the NFL-AFL merger).

Here’s a look at the 10 rushing titles that were won by 300 or more yards since 1970. Topping the list is O.J. Simpson, who in 1973 gained 2,003 yards, 859 more than his closest competitor, Green Bay’s John Brockington.

Yards difference (Year), Rushing Leader (yards), Runner-Up (yards)

859 (1973) O.J. Simpson (2,003), John Brockington (1,144)
590 (2009) Chris Johnson (2,006), Steven Jackson (1,416)
579 (1977) Walter Payton (1,852), Mark Van Eeghen (1,273)
571 (1975) O.J. Simpson (1,817), Franco Harris (1,246)
484 (2012) Adrian Peterson (2,097), Alfred Morris (1,613)
474 (1980) Earl Campbell (1,934), Walter Payton (1,460)
421 (1984) Eric Dickerson (2,105), Walter Payton (1,684)
338 (1994) Barry Sanders (1,883), Chris Warren (1,545)
305 (1986) Eric Dickerson (1,821), Joe Morris (1,516)
303 (1997) Barry Sanders (2,053), Terrell Davis (1,750)

  • Peterson became the first of the seven men who reached the 2,000 yards rushing mark to do so after having less than 1,000 yards gained the previous season. In 2011, Peterson had 970 yards rushing, but he did miss the final four games of the season because of his knee injury.
  • It will be interesting to see how well Peterson performs after his 2,000-yard season this past year. Of the previous six men who had a 2,000-yard season, all of them had fewer yards the following season. In fact, all six of them had at least a decline of 562 yards or more the next season. Terrell Davis had the biggest decline, going from 2,008 in 1998 to only 211 yards the following season (he was sidelined by a right knee injury). Jamal Lewis went from 2,066 yards in 2003 to 1,006 the next year, a decline of 1,060 yards. Barry Sanders had the “best next year” of the 2,000-yard rushers; he went from 2,053 in 1997 to 1,491 the following season (a decline of “only” 562 yards).

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

99 Stats Until Kickoff: (#31) Players who gained 100+ yards rushing in an NFL playoff game

Arian Foster, running back for the Houston Tex...

Arian Foster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

Six players had at least one game with 100 or more yards rushing in an NFL playoff game last year. The six: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Marshawn Lynch, Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore and Arian Foster. Gore gained 100-plus yards in two playoff games, including the Super Bowl, in last year’s postseason.

With his 140-yard effort versus Cincinnati on Wild Card weekend last postseason, Foster became the 18th player since 1960 to have three 100-yard games in his playoff career.

Following are the players who have had 100 or more yards rushing in three or more NFL playoff games (since 1960).

Games with 100 or more yards rushing

7 Terrell Davis, Emmitt Smith

6 John Riggins, Thurman Thomas

5 Marcus Allen, Franco Harris

4 Larry Csonka, Chuck Foreman

3 Jerome Bettis, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Arian Foster, Dorsey Levens, Curtis Martin, Lawrence McCutcheon, Freeman McNeil, Natrone Means, Fred Taylor

Did you know…

* There have been 124 different players who have gained 100 or more yards in at least one NFL playoff game.

* There have been 207 times when a player has gained 100 or more yards rushing in a playoff game since 1960. Teams have won 167 and lost 40 (a .807 winning percentage) in those playoff games.

* Eric Dickerson holds the playoff record with 248 yards gained in a postseason contest against the Dallas Cowboys on January 4, 1986.

* Seven different players have gained 200 or more yards in a playoff game.

* Michael Vick has the fewest carries to reach 100+ yards in a playoff game with eight. He did this with the Atlanta Falcons in a January 15, 2005 contest against the St. Louis Rams.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

99 Stats Until Kickoff: (#30) The evolution of the pass-catching running back in the NFL

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

LaDainian Tomlinson tossing a football before ...

LaDainian Tomlinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re looking for one way that the National Football League has changed since, say the start of the century, you don’t have to go much further than looking at how running backs are being used.

In simple terms, NFL teams are looking for ways to get the ball into the hands of their fleet-footed runners. No longer is the game limited to handing the ball off to the best runner and letting him find a way up the field. These days, passing the ball to your running back is just as important as the quarterback handing the ball off to his runners.

Let’s quantify this… using 250 or more rushing attempts and 50 receptions in a season as the yardstick, we see that in NFL history there have been 109 occasions when a running back had 250-plus rushing attempts and 50-plus receptions in the same season. Fifty-one different running backs have accomplished this feat in NFL history.

Last season two players met these numbers: Baltimore’s Ray Rice, who carried the ball 257 times to go along with his 61 catches, and Cleveland rookie Trent Richardson, who had 267 rushing attempts to go along with 51 receptions.

Of those 109 occasions, 57 of them have occurred since 2000, a testament to the fact that teams have increased the workload of their runners with pass catching responsibilities. (The most running backs to meet these numbers were seven in both the 2000 and 2003 seasons.)

Following are the running backs that have had the most seasons with 250+ carries and 50+ receptions.

Seasons with 250+ carries/50+ receptions, Players

8: LaDainian Tomlinson

6: Marshall Faulk

5: Tiki Barber, Edgerrin James

4: Ahman Green, Ray Rice, Emmitt Smith, Thurman Thomas, Ricky Watters

3: Marcus Allen, Ottis Anderson, William Andrews, Priest Holmes, Lydell Mitchell

If we move the criteria up to 300 carries and 70 catches, only eight players have met those numbers in league history. They are:

Lydell Mitchell, 1977, Baltimore, 301 carries, 71 catches
James Wilder, 1984, Tampa Bay, 407 carries, 85 catches

Roger Craig, 1988, San Francisco, 310 carries, 76 catches

Marshall Faulk, 1998, Indianapolis, 324 carries, 86 catches

Curtis Martin, 2000, N.Y. Jets, 316 carries, 70 catches

LaDainian Tomlinson, 2002, San Diego, 372 carries, 79 catches

Priest Holmes, 2002, Kansas City, 313 carries, 70 catches

LaDainian Tomlinson, 2003, San Diego, 313 carries, 100 catches

Priest Holmes, 2003, Kansas City, 320 carries, 74 catches

Steven Jackson, 2006, St. Louis, 346 carries, 90 catches

Here’s a few more stats concerning running backs with 250-plus carries and 50-plus catches in a season:

* Four players accomplished this feat while in their 30’s: Tiki Barber (2006, 2007 at age 30 and 31), Ricky Watters (2000 at age 31), Tony Dorsett (1984 at age 30) and Priest Holmes (2003 at age 30).

* LaDainian Tomlinson holds the record for most consecutive seasons with 250-plus rushing attempts and 50-plus receptions with eight. He did it from 2001-2008. Tiki Barber did it in five straight seasons from 2002-2006.

* Nine players reached the 250/50 milestone in their rookie season, including this year’s rookie to make the list, the Browns’ Trent Richardson. The others were: Billy Sims (1980), Joe Cribbs (1980), Eric Dickerson (1983), Marshall Faulk (1994), Edgerrin James (1999), LaDainian Tomlinson (2001), Steve Slaton (2008) and Matt Forte (2008).

* Two players in NFL history not only had 250 carries and 50 catches, but also had at least one kickoff return and one punt return in that season. Joe Cribbs did it in 1980, Maurice Jones-Drew did it in 2009.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

99 Stats Until Kickoff: (#29) The NFL’s left-handed quarterbacks

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

The NFL Today's Boomer Esiason during the Supe...

Boomer Esiason (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a couple of trivia questions about the NFL’s left-handed quarterbacks. Let’s see how well you know your southpaw signal-callers in the history of the NFL.

  • Which left-handed QB has started the most games in the NFL?
  • Which left-handed QB has the highest Passer Rating in the league’s history?
  • Which left-handed QB has the most wins as a starting QB in the NFL?

(Answers are provided at the end of this item.)

Fourteen different left-handed quarterbacks have thrown for 10 or more touchdowns in their NFL career. Leading the pack is CBS’ The NFL Today commentator Boomer Esiason, who tossed 247 TD passes in his 14-year NFL career that included stops in New York with the Jets and in Arizona, on top of his 10 years in Cincinnati.

Here’s the list of left-handed quarterbacks who have 10 or more career TD passes.

Player, career TD passes
Boomer Esiason, 247
Steve Young, 232
Ken Stabler, 194
Mark Brunell, 184
Michael Vick, 123
Frankie Albert, 115
Jim Zorn, 111
Scott Mitchell, 95
Bobby Douglass, 36
Paul McDonald, 24
Tim Tebow, 17
Cade McNown, 16
Matt Leinart, 15
Chris Simms, 12

Seven different left-handed QBs were first round selections in the NFL Draft. They were: Michael Vick, Steve Young, Matt Leinart, Frankie Albert, Cade McNown, Todd Marinovich and Tim Tebow.

All total, 27 left-handed quarterbacks have thrown for a TD in the league’s history. Steve Young holds the mark for most TD passes by a left-handed QB in a season with 36 in 1998.

Here are the answers to the above trivia questions:

  • Esiason has started the most games with 173.
  • Young has the highest Passer Rating with a career mark of 96.8.
  • Stabler has the most wins with 96.

In addition: Young has the highest career pass completions rate for a lefty with 64.3 percent; Esiason has the most passing yards with 37,920; Stabler has the most career interceptions for a lefty with 222.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Lucroy making a run at Brewers’ RBI mark for catchers

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Jonathan Lucroy

Jonathan Lucroy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy had a pair of RBIs last night in the team’s 9-3 win over the Cubs. Those RBIs give Lucroy 42 for the season, which places him first on the team in that category.

In looking at the Brewers history, there has been only one Brewers catcher who has led the team in RBIs in a season. Dave Nilsson did it in 1994 when he had 69 RBIs. If Lucroy maintains this pace, he could become the second backstop to lead the team in runs batted in.

Lucroy has 42 RBI in 64 games played. The Brewers have 87 games left on their schedule, and should Lucroy play in all 87 games (not likely) he is on a pace to drive in 99 for the season. Only one Brewers catcher has ever driven in 100 or more runs in a season; that was Ted Simmons in 1983 when he had 108 RBI while catching in 86 of 152 games that season.

Here’s a look at Brewers catchers who finished in the Top 3 in team RBI for a season (players must have caught 50% or more of the season’s games to qualify):

1973: Darrell Porter, 67 RBI (third on team)
1975: Darrell Porter, 60 RBI (tied for second on the team)
1981: Ted Simmons, 61 (third on team)
1983: Ted Simmons, 108 (second on team)
1994: Dave Nilsson, 69 (first on team)

Here’s a look at the most RBI by a Brewers catcher in a season (caught 50% or more of the season’s games to qualify)

1. Ted Simmons, 1983… 108
2. Ted Simmons, 1982… 97
3. Dave Nilsson, 1994… 69
4. B.J. Surhoff, 1991… 68
5. B.J. Surhoff, 1987… 68

Note: Through games of June 25, Lucroy ranks tied for second in the majors for catchers with 42 RBI  (he is tied with Cards’ catcher Yadier Molina). Buster Posey leads all MLB catchers with 43 RBIs.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp