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|
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.