By Ken Crippen
Pro Football Researchers Association


This week, we will focus on the Thanksgiving Day game pitting the number one team, based on Rusher Rating Differential, against the number two team: San Francisco versus Baltimore. San Francisco had not allowed a rushing touchdown entering the game and Baltimore wanted to break that streak.
 
Heading into the game, San Francisco had a 41.25 Rusher Rating Differential. Baltimore had a 25.81 Rusher Rating Differential. San Francisco had the leading defense, with a 53.92 Defensive Rusher Rating. Baltimore’s defense was ranked third with a 74.57 Defensive Rusher Rating.
 
As expected, it was a game highlighted by defense. San Francisco finished the game with a defensive Rusher Rating of 67.20 and still holds the distinction of not allowing a rushing touchdown all season. However, it was Baltimore who was able to kill the clock with 35 carries for 92 yards. Ray Rice handled the bulk of the load, with 21 attempts for 59 yards and a Rusher Rating of 68.19.
 
When looking at the overall Rusher Rating numbers, keep in mind that Flacco knelt four times throughout the game: once at the end of the first half and three times to end the game. Removing the four “carries,” the overall offensive Rusher Rating for Baltimore was 69.77. Flacco’s Rusher Rating adjusts to 69.24.
 
Here is how the game broke down:
 
San Francisco 49ers :
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Frank Gore 14 39 2.79 0 0 68.06
Kendall Hunter 4 14 3.50 0 0 71.98
Alex Smith 2 12 6.00 0 0 85.70
Ted Ginn 1 9 9.00 0 0 102.16
Team 21 74 3.52 0 0 72.11
 
Running Lane            
Left End 5 26 5.20 0 0 81.31
Left Tackle 3 7 2.33 0 0 65.58
Left Guard 2 7 3.50 0 0 71.98
Center 3 1 0.33 0 0 54.61
Right Guard 5 20 4.00 0 0 74.73
Right Tackle 1 4 4.00 0 0 74.73
Right End 2 9 4.50 0 0 77.47
 
Attempts            
1 through 10 10 39 3.90 0 0 74.18
11 through 20 10 31 3.10 0 0 69.79
21 through 30 1 4 4.00 0 0 74.73
 
Field Position            
Own 1-20 6 20 3.33 0 0 71.07
Own 21-50 7 24 3.43 0 0 71.59
Opponent 49-20 7 30 4.29 0 0 76.29
Redzone 0 0 0.00 0 0 n/a
 
Half            
1st 12 41 3.42 0 0 71.52
2nd 9 33 3.67 0 0 72.90
Last 2 Minutes 1 4 4.00 0 0 74.73
 
Quarter            
1st 5 26 5.20 0 0 81.31
2nd 7 15 2.14 0 0 64.54
3rd 7 27 3.86 0 0 73.94
4th 2 6 3.00 0 0 69.24
Last 7 Minutes 1 4 4.00 0 0 74.73
 
 
Baltimore Ravens:
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Ray Rice 21 59 2.81 0 0 68.19
Ricky Williams 7 29 4.14 0 0 75.51
Joe Flacco 6 2 0.33 0 0 54.61
Vonta Leach 1 2 2.00 0 0 63.75
Team 35 92 2.63 0 0 67.20
 
Running Lane            
Left End 0 0 0.00 0 0 n/a
Left Tackle 3 17 5.67 0 0 83.87
Left Guard 8 29 3.63 0 0 72.67
Center 7 4 0.57 0 0 55.91
Right Guard 12 3 0.25 0 0 54.15
Right Tackle 3 16 5.33 0 0 82.04
Right End 2 -4 -2.00 0 0 41.80
 
Attempts            
1 through 10 10 31 3.10 0 0 69.79
11 through 20 10 27 2.70 0 0 67.59
21 through 30 10 36 3.60 0 0 72.53
31 through 40 5 -2 -0.40 0 0 50.58
 
Field Position            
Own 1-20 3 7 2.33 0 0 65.58
Own 21-50 13 46 3.54 0 0 72.19
Opponent 49-20 13 29 2.23 0 0 65.02
Redzone 6 10 1.67 0 0 61.92
 
Half            
1st 17 46 2.71 0 0 67.62
2nd 18 46 2.56 0 0 66.80
Last 2 Minutes 3 -3 -1.00 0 0 47.29
 
Quarter            
1st 8 28 3.50 0 0 71.98
2nd 9 18 2.00 0 0 63.75
3rd 4 12 3.00 0 0 69.24
4th 14 34 2.43 0 0 63.10
Last 7 Minutes 8 15 1.88 0 0 63.07
 
 
 
DeAngelo Williams captured the number one spot this week with a 130.88 Rusher Rating. Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson was second with a 122.27 Rusher Rating. In third place, Minnesota’s Toby Gerhart, filling in for the injured Adrian Peterson, had a Rusher Rating of 118.61.

Here are the top 10 rushers of week 12 with a minimum of 15 attempts, based on Rusher Rating:
 
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
DeAngelo Williams – CAR 15 69 4.60 2 0 130.80
Cedric Benson – CIN 21 106 5.05 1 0 122.27
Toby Gerhart – MIN 17 44 2.59 1 0 118.61
Roy Helu – WAS 23 108 4.70 1 0 116.71
Chris Wells – ARI 27 228 8.44 1 1 113.93
Michael Bush – OAK 24 69 2.88 1 0 105.13
Arian Foster – HOU 22 65 2.95 1 1 87.17
Ryan Mathews – SD 22 137 6.23 0 0 86.95
Maurice Jones-Drew – JAX 18 99 5.50 0 0 82.96
Willis McGahee – DEN 23 117 5.09 0 0 80.69
 
 
Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy continues to hold the top spot in Rusher Rating for the season. Adrian Peterson is in second and BenJarvus Green-Ellis holds the number three position.
 
Now, the top 10 rushers of the season with a minimum of 150 attempts, based on Rusher Rating:
 
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
LeSean McCoy – PHI 198 1050 5.30 11 0 130.64
Adrian Peterson – MIN 186 872 4.69 11 1 127.84
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – NE 150 585 3.90 7 0 115.14
Ray Rice – BAL 179 722 4.03 8 1 111.47
Fred Jackson – BUF 170 934 5.49 6 2 108.28
Chris Wells – ARI 181 849 4.69 8 4 106.75
Rashard Mendenhall – PIT 153 574 3.75 6 1 104.66
Michael Bush – OAK 163 668 4.10 6 1 104.64
Arian Foster – HOU 193 805 4.17 7 2 102.55
Michael Turner – ATL 219 948 4.33 8 3 102.05
 
 
Real Running Back Rating
 
Looking at the season leaders (based on Rusher Rating) through Week 12 of the NFL regular season (minimum 150 attempts) we have the following (Listed by Real Running Back Rating):
 
Player Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TD Rusher Rating Real RB Rating Diff.
Adrian Peterson – MIN 16 125 1 127.84 111.32 -16.52
Michael Bush – OAK 16 249 1 104.64 108.92 +4.28
LeSean McCoy – PHI 34 98 2 130.64 104.22 -26.42
Arian Foster – HOU 38 469 2 102.55 99.60 -2.95
Ray Rice – BAL 54 537 2 111.47 95.57 -15.90
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – NE 6 74 0 115.14 87.36 -27.78
Fred Jackson – BUF 39 442 0 108.28 82.39 -25.89
Michael Turner – ATL 10 124 0 102.05 79.77 -22.28
Rashard Mendenhall – PIT 11 77 0 104.66 73.29 -31.37
Chris Wells – ARI 6 25 0 106.75 70.43 -36.32
 
Peterson leads the season in Real Running Back Rating, but it was Bush who has the only positive impact from the passing game. He was the only running back to improve from Rusher Rating to Real Running Back Rating with his 4.28 differential.
 
 
Rusher Rating Differential
 
The San Francisco 49ers again hold the top spot in Rusher Rating Differential. But the Minnesota Vikings shot into second place, overtaking the Baltimore Ravens. Minnesota’s 116.31 Offensive Rusher Rating was the main reason for this jump. Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Cleveland still hold the bottom three spots.
 
Here are all 32 teams ranked, based on Rusher Rating Differential, for the season:
 
Team Rushing Attempts Offensive Rusher Rating Defensive Rushing Attempts Defensive Rusher Rating Rusher Rating Differential
San Francisco 49ers 336 93.73 238 55.88 37.85
Minnesota Vikings 300 116.31 299 93.18 23.13
Baltimore Ravens 284 96.29 300 74.40 21.89
New Orleans Saints 286 112.74 256 94.75 17.99
Houston Texans 388 100.66 243 85.64 15.02
Miami Dolphins 307 83.31 299 69.02 14.29
Carolina Panthers 294 120.46 317 109.93 10.53
Atlanta Falcons 320 97.93 249 88.09 9.84
Philadelphia Eagles 315 106.14 280 99.64 6.50
Chicago Bears 296 97.85 232 92.57 5.28
New England Patriots 298 100.04 261 96.03 4.01
Seattle Seahawks 286 87.93 315 84.28 3.65
Tennessee Titans 262 82.95 320 79.45 3.50
Green Bay Packers 280 96.82 238 95.32 1.50
Denver Broncos 367 85.59 326 84.16 1.43
Pittsburgh Steelers 290 93.49 266 92.63 0.86
San Diego Chargers 293 90.97 336 91.92 -0.95
Cincinnati Bengals 312 90.39 290 92.46 -2.07
Washington Redskins 255 90.13 313 93.37 -3.24
Oakland Raiders 352 103.77 282 107.77 -4.00
Detroit Lions 256 90.17 289 95.66 -5.49
New York Jets 292 84.75 322 91.04 -6.29
Dallas Cowboys 288 79.84 259 89.10 -9.26
New York Giants 285 94.29 302 103.98 -9.69
Arizona Cardinals 268 96.19 337 106.14 -9.95
Buffalo Bills 281 92.07 302 102.91 -10.84
St. Louis Rams 270 80.35 345 93.80 -13.45
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 249 88.97 320 102.85 -13.88
Kansas City Chiefs 330 75.72 352 91.14 -15.42
Indianapolis Colts 247 88.62 394 105.63 -17.01
Jacksonville Jaguars 343 71.14 303 89.80 -18.76
Cleveland Browns 299 65.15 354 90.85 -25.70
 
 
How the Rusher Rating is Calculated
 
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 NFL Passer Rating System) yields:
 
Rusher Rating = [(YD) + (TD) + (F)] * (100/4.5)
 
 
How the Real Running Back Rating is Calculated
 
Now, we look at the Real Running Back Rating. Here are the updated equations with the receiving components:
 
Average Yards Gained per Attempt (YD) = [Total Yards/(4.05 * Rushing Attempts)]
 
Percentage of TDs per Carry (RUSHTD) = [(39.5*Touchdowns)/Rushing Attempts]
 
Average Yards Gained per Reception (REC) = [Receiving Yards/(9*Receptions)]
 
Percentage of TDs per Reception (RECTD) = [(27.5*Touchdowns)/Receptions]
 
Percentage of Fumbles per Touch (F) = [2.375-((21.5*Fumbles)/(Rushes + Receptions))]
 
Adding these components together and adjusting to a scale of 158.3 yields:
 
Rusher Rating = [(YD) + (RUSHTD) + (REC) + (RECTD) + (F)] * (100/7.5)
 
 
Ken Crippen is the executive director of the Professional Football Researchers Association, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving football history.You can follow him on Twitter: @KenCrippen.