Rushing Stats Analysis – Find The Gap Week 3
After two weeks into the season, rushing trends are forming for some teams. Who’s got the strongest ground game so far? And are there gaps to exploit in the stats? First, let’s see how week’s selections fared…
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – 21 carries, 82 yards – 3.9 yards per carry
The top two men, Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, put up a decent average on their carries. However, the Falcons did enough to keep themselves in the game. As a result, Brady just kept on throwing to try and pull them ahead – and the running game suffered.
And the game-winning points didn’t even come from the offense. Matt Ryan threw two pick sixes to stretch out the Tampa lead to end the game on a real low for the Atlanta Quarterback.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM – 22 carries, 87 yards and 1 TD (4YPC)
As predicted in the previous article, J.D. McKissic was the man to bounce back in Week 2. His dual-threat calibre not only allowed him 83 yards through the air, but he also bagged a rushing touchdown to go with it.
However, this was just off 4 carries – Antonio Gibson did most of the leg work in this game. Gibson’s 13 carries produced 69 yards (5.3ypc). He continues to look for his first touchdown of the season.
CLEVELAND BROWNS – 34 carries, 156 yards and 3 TDs (4.6YPC)
The Browns continued to show their ruthless dominance in the ground game, with three different touchdown scorers. Baker Mayfield, Andy Janovich and the bulldozer Nick Chubb found the endzone on the ground.
Chubb was chief with his efficiency, picking up a sweet 8.6 yards per carry. The Texans kept this game surprisingly close as well, continuing their surprising 2021 form, so the statline could have been much stronger!
So which teams could be in for a great ground week in Week 3?
ARIZONA CARDINALS (vs. JAGUARS)
Top of the pile are the Cardinals, who face the woeful Jacksonville in Week 3.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- The Jaguars are having a torrid time against run defenses at the moment – and that’s because their offense is unable to get anything started. Pitting them up against a team running wild with offensive points at the moment, and the game script could swing massively in Arizona’s favour. After a close call last week against the Vikings, its almost imperative that the Cards keep a lead and put the pressure on the Jaguars to throw and catch up. And that means pounding that rock to wind down the clock.
- The Cardinals’ season opener saw them stretch out a lead against the Titans. As a result, they turned to rushing personnel to wind the clock down. Chase Edmonds and James Conner got 28 carries between them, with Kyler Murray also adding on extras. This match script could be very likely against the Jaguars, who have faced the highest number of carries so far this season (70 already!)
- An area of weakness for the Jags is covering runs around the O-line’s left end. This season, opposing carries have averaged 6.2 yards per carry through that zone. This continues on from last year, where the team conceded 6.5 yards per carry over the 2020 season (83 runs) – including 17 carries of 10 yards or more.
- Incidentally, the Cardinals have found this season’s most effective runs to come around both sides. Both Kyler and Chase have found 10+ yard runs on these rushing routes. So keep an eye out for Kliff Kingsbury to deploy carries in the same vein.
LA CHARGERS (vs. CHIEFS)
The Chargers are this week’s second choice for a decent ground game.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- The Chiefs have had some uncharacteristically close games in their first two weeks. The offense has done a sterling job of trying to pull the team through. But the defense has let the side down in conceding a LOT of points. And plenty of these have come from the ground game. 3 rushing touchdowns against Baltimore – and 4 against the Browns. That’s some significant weakness there. And I can see the Chargers adding to that total.
- As with the Jaguars, the Chiefs have also got glaring holes in covering runs around the offensive ends. They have already been caught for 9 carries of 10 yards or more around the edges. That includes 183 yards around the right end. While the Ravens match could ordinarily be considered an outlier, they had similar problems in Week 1 against Cleveland. This could be a concerning issue that the Chiefs may need to address.
- And the Chargers seem to be excelling at hitting the runs to the outside. Austin Ekeler has already hit two runs of a similar length to the outside of the Chargers line.
- One thing that really could go against the Chargers in this game is whether they can get to grips with Patrick Mahomes and the passing offense. The good news is that Kansas City aren’t putting a lot of stock in using their ground game as much. As such, it could be a little easier to predict, and stifle, the offense. But we are talking about Patrick Mahomes here. As such, this one could be a little sticky.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (vs. Lions)
The final pick are the Baltimore Ravens, who seem to be hording rushing personnel at the moment.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- As much as Detroit have turned a corner with their level of competitiveness in games, this will be a stern test. The Lions come up against a supremely rush-oriented Ravens offense this week. And Baltimore have laid the foundations for a strong performance on the ground after just two weeks. And this is after losing both their starting Running Backs!
- Sophomore Ty’son Williams is cooking up a storm behind this offensive line. The young back has already peeled off 5 runs of 10 yards or more in just two games, and could be in line for more in Week 3.
- Coupling up Williams with Latavius Murray seems like a brilliant one-two punch. Murray, coming from established work in New Orleans, is already picking up steam after the opening weeks of the season. His Week 2 stats read much better than the week before. And this is a great chance to continue the upward tick in efficiency.
- Not only that, but Lamar Jackson has also kept his role in such a potent group. A lion’s share of his carries (no pun intended) have come down the right end of the line, with carries of 9, 15, 20 and 21 yards ripping up the field in two games so far. The Lions have faced the most carries through this zone in the first two weeks – and have given up 5.71 yards per carry down there. It looks be another busy game for the Lion’s rush defense.
Join me next week to see how these three teams got on!
Until then, keep rushing!