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Factoid

Lousy rushing performances

Akers, Dillon among the flops

Sifting through the stats from Week 1 of the NFL season, I noticed some really lousy rushing performances. There were plenty of shocking quarterback and wide receiver duds, which we've discussed the last couple of days, but also some really bad running backs.

Three that stand out are Deon Jackson for the Colts, Cam Akers for the Rams, and AJ Dillon (pictured) for the Packers. All three got at least 13 rushing attempts, and all three plodded to just 1.5 yards per attempt or worse.

In the last decade (that's about 2,500 football games), there have been 47 times when a running back carried the ball at least a dozen times and averaged just 1.5 per attempt. About 4-5 times per season. It happened three times in Week 1.

RBS W/GAMES UNDER 1.5 Y/A, 2014-PRESENT
YearPlayerAttYdsAvgTD
2019Saquon Barkley1310.10
2015DeMarco Murray1320.20
2020Saquon Barkley1560.40
2016Dwayne Washington1360.50
2020Kareem Hunt13110.81
2017LeSean McCoy1290.80
2017DeMarco Murray1290.81
2019Sony Michel15140.90
2020Tevin Coleman14120.90
2015Devonta Freeman12121.00
2017Derrick Henry13131.00
2015Chris Ivory15171.10
2015Chris Ivory23261.12
2018LeSean McCoy12131.10
2021Mike Davis13141.10
2016Carlos Hyde13141.10
2023Deon Jackson13141.10
2015Joique Bell14171.20
2015Donald Brown14171.21
2019Tevin Coleman12141.20
2015Mike Gillislee24281.20
2016Chris Ivory12141.20
2018Joe Mixon12141.21
2017Jonathan Stewart18211.20
2014LeSean McCoy19221.20
2020Alvin Kamara12161.31
2023Cam Akers22291.31
2017Robert Kelley14181.32
2014Andre Ellington18231.31
2015Frank Gore19241.30
2020Jeff Wilson12151.31
2016Jeremy Hill23331.41
2015Chris Johnson12171.40
2017Chris Johnson12171.40
2019Christian McCaffrey22311.41
2017Isaiah Crowell15211.40
2016Terrance West15211.40
2021David Johnson13181.40
2017Adrian Peterson21291.40
2018Peyton Barber16221.40
2022Nick Chubb14191.40
2021Najee Harris12181.50
2017LeSean McCoy14211.50
2022Saquon Barkley15221.50
2020Carlos Hyde15221.50
2023AJ Dillon13191.50
2014Branden Oliver13191.50

Data from pro-football-reference.com was used in assembling this table.

In all three cases, these running backs might be starting in Week 2. Aaron Jones has a hamstring injury, which would put Dillon in the lineup. Akers is the Rams' starter (though he played a little less than Kyren Williams last week, who scored 2 TDs and nearly a third). And Jackson may need to start again for the Colts, although they hope to get Zack Moss back from a broken arm.

As the table shows, running backs can have games like the above and still be very good players. Saquon Barkley, as a for instance, shows up 3 times in the table. Also making appearances are Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb and Chris Johnson -- those guys all are/were very good.

But it can be said that Jackson won't be long for a role in Indy with another game or two like that. And that Williams playing more than Akers in Week 1 might not be an anomaly.

--Andy Richardson

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