Where do Jackson, Lynch rank? (buffalobills.com)
The NFL is all about trends, and one of the most prominent offensive trends we've seen develop over the past few years has been the transition from one-back to two-back rushing systems. The days where one runner is featured in a backfield are quickly coming to a close, with one-two punches being implemented to sustain careers and increase the production of rushing games across the league. The Buffalo Bills are no different; Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson are two of Buffalo's five most important offensive players.
Lynch and Jackson are, at least statistically, enjoying a highly productive season between the two of them. Curious to know how the duo stacked up to other dominant rushing duos in the league, I decided to do what the nerd in me relishes: crunch numbers. Lynch and Jackson have been terrific, but this list should highlight exactly where they stand when it comes to two-back duos in the current NFL.
You're probably going to look at this list and be confused - especially if, say, you're a Cowboys fan stopping by. "Where's Marion Barber and Felix Jones?" I left off any duo that's dealt with significant injuries this season, and with Jones on IR, MB3 has been getting the bulk of the rushing load while dealing with injuries himself. Some seriously good running backs won't make this list because they do most of the work themselves (I'm looking at you, Willie Parker and Brian Westbrook). This is, of course, an opinion piece, so feel free to disagree with me. As it stands at this moment, however, here's how I'd rate the Top 10 1-2 rushing punches in the NFL.
#1 - Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, NY Jets
- 294 carries, 1414 yards (4.8 average), 15 TD; 61 receptions, 449 yards (7.4 average), 4 TD
#2 - Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, NY Giants
- 315 carries, 1580 yards (5.0 average), 14 TD; 41 receptions, 402 yards (9.8 average), 0 TD
#3 - DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Carolina
- 320 carries, 1539 yards (4.8 average), 17 TD; 24 receptions, 131 yards (5.5 average), 2 TD
#4 - Chris Johnson and LenDale White, Tennessee
- 349 carries, 1533 yards (4.4 average), 20 TD; 39 receptions, 241 yards (6.2 average), 1 TD
#5 - Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, Minnesota
- 350 carries, 1604 yards (4.6 average), 12 TD; 51 receptions, 385 yards (7.5 average), 1 TD
#6 - Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, Atlanta
- 359 carries, 1620 yards (4.5 average), 15 TD; 31 receptions, 277 yards (8.9 average), 1 TD
#7 - Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, Miami
- 289 carries, 1202 yards (4.2 average), 13 TD; 40 receptions, 344 yards (8.6 average), 1 TD
#8 - Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, Buffalo
- 291 carries, 1205 yards (4.1 average), 8 TD; 70 receptions, 506 yards (7.2 average), 1 TD
#9 - Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, Jacksonville
- 260 carries, 1055 yards (4.1 average), 12 TD; 58 receptions, 507 yards (8.7 average), 0 TD
#10 - Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis
- 252 carries, 908 yards (3.6 average), 8 TD; 53 receptions, 335 yards (6.3 average), 3 TD
Clearly, there are some incredibly productive rushing tandems out there, and Lynch and Jackson trail significantly in several categories, specifically yards per attempt and touchdowns. That keeps them out of the "elite" category, but clearly, they're productive in their own right. No running back tandem in the league has more receptions than the 70 Lynch and Jackson have put up (New Orleans' Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas have notched 67 as their closest competitors).
It's not exactly a news flash, but this running back duo of ours is very, very good. If Turk Schonert can get them more touches and find a way to get them in the end zone more often, this duo could establish themselves as "elite". Until then, they'll have to defer to the rest of the outstanding duos ahead of them on this list.