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Factoid

Oldies but goodies

Jones, Cook make their mark in Saturday games

If we wind the clock back to Halloween, it would be reasonable to wonder if Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook were right at the end of the road. Both are older backs, and neither was doing much at that time. But they showed on Saturday that they have a little something left.

Especially Jones, who struggled with injuries for most of the season. He’s healthy now, and he closed the season by running for over 100 yards in each of his last five games. He also averaged at least 5 yards per carry in each of those games. He averaged more than 3.6 per attempt in only half of his other eight games.

Jones is 29, but I would think the Packers will have him back in 2024, probably using him in combination with another back. (They will not want to head into the season without a quality second back in place.)

Since the merger in 1970, only eight other backs who were at least 29 years old have run for 100-plus yards five games in a row. Half of those seasons were put together by Barry Sanders and Walter Payton.

OLDER BACKS / 100-YARD GAMES
YearPlayerTeamAgeStreak
1997Barry SandersDet.2914
1985Walter PaytonChi.329
1984Walter PaytonChi.316
1987Charles WhiteLAR295
1998Barry SandersDet.305
2002Priest HolmesK.C.295
2005Tiki BarberNYG305
2007Fred TaylorJac.315
2023Aaron JonesG.B.295
1976O.J. SimpsonBuff.294
1983John RigginsWas.344
1998Gary BrownNYG294
2001Jerome BettisPitt.294
2003Marshall FaulkSt.L.304
2003Stephen DavisCar.294
2004Corey DillonN.E.304
2004Jerome BettisPitt.324

Statistics compiled using search tools at Pro-Football-Reference.com

Cook (who’s 28) also caught my eye on Saturday. All of his carries came in the second half of the fourth quarter, but it looks like he has a little something left. He ripped off a 19-yard gainer on his first team, looking not dramatically different than he has the last two years in Minnesota. Losing 3 yards on each of his final 2 carries, he finished with 23 yards on 8 attempts, but he looked fine.

I did not see enough sizzle from Cook that I expect he will be outperforming Gus Edwards or Justice Hill next week. Edwards is definitely their goal-line back and inside power runner, while Hill is a small back with some zip. Hill carried 13 times for 66 yards yesterday, and he’s chipped in some plays as a pass catcher. But Cook gives them another back to work with, and he’ll be particularly important if either of those guys gets hurt.

—Ian Allan

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