By Ken Crippen
Pro Football Researchers Association


The Cleveland Browns. The New York Jets. The Jacksonville Jaguars.

All three franchises conjure up similar images, of tough running games and tough running defenses ... but not this year.

The Browns, Jets and Jaguars rank last in Rusher Rating Differential, and it's proving to be a tough stat to overcome. Of the bottom seven teams on the list, only the Jets have a winning record.

Cleveland is down to its third running back, but what's the Jets' excuse? Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson are both healthy, and the defensive front dominated the ball the last two seasons under Rex Ryan. As for the Jaguars, while Maurice Jones-Drew is getting it done (4.5 YPC), he also has six fumbles to only three touchdowns.

San Francisco continues to dominate the top of the list. Last week, they had a differential of 44.56, below their average but still well above the average for No. 2 Baltimore.

Last week, their season Defensive Rusher Rating was 57.15. This week, it dropped to 49.24, far better than the next closest team: Baltimore with a 60.04 Defensive Rusher Rating.
 
Team Rushing Attempts Offensive Rusher Rating Defensive Rushing Attempts Defensive Rusher Rating Rusher Rating Differential
San Francisco 49ers 214 101.35 148 49.24 52.11
Baltimore Ravens 182 98.62 187 60.04 38.58
Minnesota Vikings 230 117.23 198 93.45 23.78
Atlanta Falcons 182 112.52 174 93.79 18.73
New England Patriots 175 107.55 163 91.78 15.77
Chicago Bears 168 102.28 146 92.34 9.94
Carolina Panthers 214 115.92 230 107.73 8.19
Green Bay Packers 182 92.72 154 86.05 6.67
San Diego Chargers 204 99.67 186 93.39 6.28
Oakland Raiders 217 110.41 177 104.75 5.66
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 166 99.51 190 94.98 4.53
New York Giants 188 102.53 195 99.32 3.21
Buffalo Bills 195 111.58 171 109.62 1.96
Cincinnati Bengals 194 88.89 182 89.24 -0.35
Miami Dolphins 190 77.28 197 77.86 -0.58
New Orleans Saints 212 105.70 182 108.60 -2.90
Tennessee Titans 158 83.16 210 86.32 -3.16
Seattle Seahawks 145 81.10 228 85.16 -4.06
Houston Texans 273 91.10 180 95.17 -4.07
Detroit Lions 187 83.69 210 89.53 -5.84
Kansas City Chiefs 211 83.35 210 90.73 -7.38
Indianapolis Colts 180 94.10 277 102.11 -8.01
Philadelphia Eagles 218 101.34 164 109.68 -8.34
Washington Redskins 172 88.91 186 98.26 -9.35
Pittsburgh Steelers 212 90.97 179 101.60 -10.63
Dallas Cowboys 169 80.30 163 93.50 -13.20
Arizona Cardinals 173 107.19 207 120.42 -13.23
St. Louis Rams 164 84.41 221 98.90 -14.49
Denver Broncos 188 77.66 212 92.55 -14.95
Cleveland Browns 190 62.12 221 78.17 -16.05
New York Jets 177 84.57 210 106.77 -22.20
Jacksonville Jaguars 249 63.23 221 94.13 -30.90
 
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson led all Week 8 rushers. His 25 carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns gave him a Rusher Rating of 140.45. That barely beat out Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy’s 139.39 on 30 carries for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
 
McCoy regained the season lead with his performance. His 135.44 Rusher Rating far exceeds the second place rusher: Adrian Peterson, who has a 123.44 Rusher Rating for the year. Buffalo’s Fred Jackson is third with a 122.65 Rusher Rating.
 
The only shutout of the week happened when Buffalo beat Washington 23-0 in Toronto. The Redskins had the second lowest Offensive Rusher Rating for the week: 24.85. The worst was Cleveland with a 7.69 Offensive Rusher Rating. The Browns lost 20-10 to the San Francisco 49ers.
 
Here are the top 10 rushers of week 8 with a minimum of 15 attempts, based on Rusher Rating:
 
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Steven Jackson – STL 25 159 6.36 2 0 140.45
LeSean McCoy – PHI 30 185 6.17 2 0 139.39
Ray Rice – BAL 18 63 3.50 3 0 124.76
Maurice Jones-Drew – JAX 18 63 3.50 1 0 120.75
Jackie Battle – KC 19 70 3.68 1 0 119.19
Adrian Peterson – MIN 21 86 4.10 1 0 117.05
Chris Wells – ARI 22 83 3.77 1 0 113.38
Frank Gore – SF 31 134 4.32 1 0 104.81
Arian Foster – HOU 33 112 3.39 1 0 98.00
Reggie Bush – MIA 15 103 6.87 1 0 90.45
 
 
Now, the top 10 rushers of the season with a minimum of 75 attempts, based on Rusher Rating:
 
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
LeSean McCoy – PHI 135 754 5.59 8 0 135.44
Adrian Peterson – MIN 167 798 4.78 9 1 123.44
Fred Jackson – BUF 132 721 5.46 6 0 122.65
Chris Wells – ARI 113 506 4.48 7 2 121.67
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – NE 96 400 4.17 5 0 121.36
Steven Jackson – STL 84 449 5.35 4 1 118.22
Ahmad Bradshaw – NYG 111 440 3.96 5 0 114.07
Michael Turner – ATL 138 621 4.50 6 1 112.17
LeGarrette Blount – TB 77 328 4.26 3 0 110.35
Ray Rice – BAL 115 489 4.25 5 1 110.12
 
 
Next, let’s look at the top ten teams, based on offensive Rusher Rating, for week 8:
 
Team Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
St. Louis Rams 31 183 5.90 2 0 137.95
Miami Dolphins 26 145 5.58 2 0 136.16
Philadelphia Eagles 38 239 6.29 2 0 133.49
Baltimore Ravens 26 107 4.12 3 0 128.14
Indianapolis Colts 26 158 6.08 1 0 119.88
Seattle Seahawks 19 64 3.37 1 0 117.46
Minnesota Vikings 33 132 4.00 2 1 113.03
New Orleans Saints 20 56 2.80 1 0 112.03
Houston Texans 39 156 4.00 2 1 107.49
Detroit Lions 28 113 4.04 1 0 106.27
Arizona Cardinals 30 109 3.63 1 0 101.97
 
 
Next, let’s look at the top ten teams, based on offensive Rusher Rating, for the season:
 
Team Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Minnesota Vikings 230 1,203 5.23 11 3 117.23
Carolina Panthers 214 1,037 4.85 10 2 115.92
Atlanta Falcons 182 789 4.34 8 1 112.52
Buffalo Bills 195 984 5.05 8 2 111.58
Oakland Raiders 217 1,115 5.14 10 5 110.41
New England Patriots 175 787 4.50 6 0 107.55
Arizona Cardinals 173 697 4.03 8 3 107.19
New Orleans Saints 212 939 4.43 8 2 105.70
San Diego Chargers 177 710 4.01 7 2 104.10
New York Giants 188 599 3.19 8 2 102.53
 
 

How to Calculate Rusher Rating

The current passer rating system consists of four components: completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage and interception percentage.
 
To modify this for running backs, the rusher rating system consists of: yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, fumble percentage.
 
Here is how each component is calculated:
  • Average Yards Gained per Attempt (YD) = [Total Yards/(4.05 * Rushing Attempts)]
  • Percentage of TDs per Carry (TD) = [(39.5*Touchdowns)/Rushing Attempts]
  • Percentage of Fumbles per Carry (F) = [2.375-((21.5*Fumbles)/Rushing Attempts)]
Adding these components together and adjusting to a scale of 158.3 (the same as the NFLPRS) yields:
  • Rusher Rating = [(YD) + (TD) + (F)] * (100/4.5)
The Normalization Factor is the difference between the Average Rusher Rating for the league that season and the Average Rusher Rating for the control season. The Normalization Factor is added to the Rusher Rating of that year to give the Normalized Rusher Rating.
 
To calculate a career Normalized Rusher Rating, take the Normalized Rusher Rating for each season and multiply that by the number of rushing attempts for that season to give the Normalization Factor for each year (a weighted number based on the number of carries). Sum the Normalization Factors together and divide by the total number of rushing attempts for the player's career. This gives you the Normalized Rusher Rating for their career.