Running back consistency

Thanks to the Cardinals’ uncooperative defense in Week 9, DeMarco Murray’s quest to be the first NFL back to rush for 100 yards in every game of a season has been quashed. That said, 100 yards — as nice and round a number as it is — is still just a number. Would it surprise you to learn that no back has rushed for even 75 yards in all of his team’s games? I mention this because the Cowboys’ Murray had 79 against Arizona, so the feat is still within reach.

Indeed, only two other backs have gotten as far as DeMarco has — 75-plus rushing yards in each of the first 10 games. They are: Terrell Davis with the 1997 Broncos and Edgerrin James with the 2005 Colts. (Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and Eric Dickerson didn’t even do it the years they broke the single-season rushing record.)

Sure, 75 yards is as arbitrary as 100, but it might be considered, at the very least, a “quality start.” Gaining that many yards week in and week out shows a fairly high level of consistency, does it not? Here are the backs who’ve come closest to doing it in every game of a season:


Year Running back, Team 75+ Low Game
2004 Corey Dillon, Patriots 15 79 vs. Bills
2011 Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 15 63 vs. Texans
2012 Adrian Peterson, Vikings 15 60 vs. Colts
2008 Adrian Peterson, Vikings 15 32 vs. Saints
2003 Jamal Lewis, Ravens 14 68 vs. Jaguars
1985 Marcus Allen, Raiders 14 50 vs. Chiefs
2012 Alfred Morris, Redskins 14 47 vs. Vikings
2012 Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks 14 41 vs. Patriots
1984 Eric Dickerson, Rams 14 38 vs. 49ers
1983 Eric Dickerson, Rams 14 37 vs. Redskins
2009 Chris Johnson, Titans 14 34 vs. Colts
1992 Barry Foster, Steelers 14 25 vs. Bears
1997 Barry Sanders, Lions 14 20 vs. Bucs
1973 O.J. Simpson, Bills 13* 55 vs. Dolphins

*14- game season (so only once did he fall below the 75-yard threshold).

If you’re confused by Dillon’s line, let me explain: He missed a game that season. In the other 15, he rushed for 75 or more yards (gaining, on his worst day, 79 against Buffalo in Week 3. So he rushed for 75+ in every one of his games but not in every one of New England’s games.

Regardless, it’s an impressive accomplishment. Consider: The Patriots went 17-1 (postseason included) in the games Dillon played, capped by their Super Bowl win over the Eagles. And in the one they lost — 29-28 to the Dolphins — they blew an 11-point lead in the last three minutes. That’s how close he came to a perfect season. You’d have to think his utter reliability had something to do with it.


Corey Dillon tries to sidestep the Jets' David Barrett.

Corey Dillon tries to sidestep the Jets’ David Barrett.