Over last week’s game versus the Green Bay Packers running back Adrian Peterson took one step closer to immortality with a 21 carry, 210 yard performance while quarterback Christian Ponder took several steps backwards with many questioning if he belongs as the quarterback of the future let alone deserving to start right now. Through 12 games Adrian now has 234 carries for 1446 yards averaging giving him a punchers chance of reaching the lofted 2000 yards on a season that has only been achieved five times. Ponder on the other hand struggled mightily going 12/25 for 119 yards. On the season Ponder is 240/384 for 2305 yards equating to 6.0 passing yards per attempt. But no one wants to talk about Ponder. Getting back to Adrian’s shot at history only five times has a running back ran for over 2000 yards in a season. They are as follows…
Eric Dickerson, Rams, 1984: 379 carries, 2105 yards, 5.6 rushing yards per attempt
Barry Sanders, Lions, 1997: 335 carries, 2053 yards, 6.1 rushing yards per attempt
Terrell Davis, Broncos, 1998: 392 carries, 2008 yards, 5.1 rushing yards per attempt
Jamal Lewis, Ravens, 2003: 387 carries, 2066 yards, 5.3 rushing yards per attempt
Chris Johnson, Titans, 2009: 358 carries, 2006 yards, 5.6 rushing yards per attempt
Of those five backs four of them made the playoffs in their extraordinary year. Dickerson’s Rams, Lewis’ Ravens and Sanders’ Lions all lost in a Wild Card game. And of course, Davis’ Broncos went on to win the Super Bowl defeating the Atlanta Falcons (damn that ’98 season). But that’s not where we’re going with this even though it’s really hard to miss out on the playoffs when a team has such a dominant running back who strikes fear into defenses and eats away at time of possession. We went back to look at how their quarterbacks faired and here were the results…
Jeff Kemp, Rams, 1984: 143/284 for 2021 yards, 7.1 passing yards per attempt
Scott Mitchell, Lions, 1997: 293/509 for 3484 yards, 6.8 passing yards per attempt
John Elway, Broncos, 1998: 210/356 for 2806 yards, 7.9 passing yards per attempt
Kyle Boller, Ravens, 2003: 116/224 for 1260 yards, 5.6 passing yards per attempt
Vince Yonng, Titans, 2009: 152/259 for 1879 yards, 7.3 passing yards per attempt
Notice anything? Yep, us too. No running back has ever ran for over 2000 yards in a season while averaging more rushing yards per attempt then their primary quarterback achieved in passing yards per attempt. I know this is a very unscientific study, however it does illustrate Adrian’s supremacy in football and the putrid pathetic pitiful piteous play of Ponder. Has it been close in some circumstances? Absolutely! And I suppose we could point out that the slimmest of margins was Kyle Boller being closest to Lewis and how Boller was reached for in the first round, finished his career with a losing record never being considered a top flight starter anywhere and is out of the league now being married to famous blonde named Carrie Prejean. But you get the point.
EDITORS NOTE: In the comments section someone pointed out we forgot OJ Simpson’s 1973 season. Ironically Simpson did average more yards per carry than in 6.0 than quarterback Joe Ferguson’s 5.7 YPA. My mistake on that one you guys. I guess if there’s a takeaway it’d be the first time in close to 40 years.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig