Before injuring his left knee on Monday Night Football, Felix Jones had 8 carries for 94 yards. An incredible performance for most players, but just another day at the office for Mr. Jones. Over at Footballguys.com, Shark Pool member wdcrob asked me if Felix Jones is going to be the fastest running back in NFL history to get to 500 career rushing yards. Jones has 51 career carries on which he has gained an incredible 478 yards. With just 22 rushing yards on his next five carries -- and after that injury it won't happen this weekend -- he will become the fastest player to ever get to 500 career rushing yards.* Unless Jones totally implodes, he'll easily set the market for fastest running back to reach the 500-yard plateau.
*Here at P-F-R-, we have game by game data dating back to 1960 (I've also excluded 2009 game data), but we do not have play by play data . Therefore, the scope of this study is limited only to players whose career began after 1960. For all players, the number of carries it took them to reach 500 yards was approximated based on their career yardage before and after the game in which they hit the 500-yard mark. So if a RB had 80 career carries for 480 yards, and then had 20 carries for 100 yards in his next game (5.0 yards per carry), he is credited with reaching the 500-yard mark on 84.0 carries. If a RB had 90 career carries for 492 yards, and had 4 carries for 50 yards in his next game (12.5 YPC), he'd be "assumed" to have reached the 500-yard mark on 90.8 carries. Obviously this isn't perfect, but lacking play-by-play data, I think this is the best we can do.
The table below shows the fastest 50 players to record 500 career rushing yards, as measured by the approximated number of carries.
carry pos name 56.0 WR Freddie Solomon 57.7 QB Michael Vick 57.9 QB Randall Cunningham 60.1 QB Greg Landry 63.4 WR Jerry Rice 65.1 RB Bo Jackson 68.1 QB Roger Staubach 68.5 QB Jack Concannon 69.2 QB Mike Pagel 71.2 RB Paul Lowe 71.9 RB Warren McVea 72.0 RB Ahmad Bradshaw 72.4 RB Hoyle Granger 73.2 QB Bobby Douglass 74.2 QB Donovan McNabb 75.0 WR Andre Reed 75.5 RB Jerious Norwood 75.6 RB Don Woods 76.0 RB Mercury Morris 76.2 QB Mark Brunell 76.7 QB Fran Tarkenton 77.0 QB Bert Jones 77.0 QB Rodney Peete 78.0 QB Vince Young 78.1 RB Gary Brown 79.5 QB Rob Johnson 79.7 RB Bill Thornton 80.3 QB Virgil Carter 80.9 RB Stump Mitchell 81.0 WR Frank Jackson 82.9 RB Todd McNair 82.9 RB Mike Garrett 83.2 QB Steve McNair 83.5 RB Thomas Sanders 83.5 RB Greg Pruitt 83.7 RB Rod Bernstine 85.1 RB Mack Lee Hill 85.4 RB Ted McKnight 85.8 WR Dwight Stone 85.8 RB Marcel Shipp 85.8 RB LaMont Jordan 85.8 QB Pete Beathard 86.1 RB Jess Phillips 86.1 QB Steve Young 86.3 QB Steve Grogan 86.4 QB Steve Pelluer 86.4 RB Adrian Peterson 87.3 RB Billy Sims 87.5 QB David Garrard 87.6 RB Jewerl Thomas
And a list of all running backs to hit the 500-yard mark on or before their 100th carry:
65.1 RB Bo Jackson 71.2 RB Paul Lowe 71.9 RB Warren McVea 72.0 RB Ahmad Bradshaw 72.4 RB Hoyle Granger 75.5 RB Jerious Norwood 75.6 RB Don Woods 76.0 RB Mercury Morris 78.1 RB Gary Brown 79.7 RB Bill Thornton 80.9 RB Stump Mitchell 82.9 RB Todd McNair 82.9 RB Mike Garrett 83.5 RB Thomas Sanders 83.5 RB Greg Pruitt 83.7 RB Rod Bernstine 85.1 RB Mack Lee Hill 85.4 RB Ted McKnight 85.8 RB Marcel Shipp 85.8 RB LaMont Jordan 86.1 RB Jess Phillips 86.4 RB Adrian Peterson 87.3 RB Billy Sims 87.6 RB Jewerl Thomas 88.4 RB Barry Foster 88.5 RB Najeh Davenport 89.1 RB Pete Banaszak 89.3 RB Michael Turner 89.5 RB Walt Garrison 89.8 RB Clarence Davis 89.8 RB Charlie H. Smith 89.8 RB Rueben Mayes 89.9 RB Larry Johnson 90.1 RB Tony Nathan 90.2 RB Dave Meggett 90.5 RB Larry Garron 90.9 RB Tom Moore 91.1 RB Franco Harris 92.0 RB Willie Parker 92.2 RB Lamar Smith 92.3 RB Jimmy Thomas 92.5 RB John Brockington 92.5 RB Selvin Young 92.9 RB Curtis McClinton 92.9 RB Ernie Green 93.1 RB Antowain Smith 93.1 RB Cookie Gilchrist 93.2 RB Robert Holmes 93.7 RB Anthony Thomas 94.0 RB Mewelde Moore 94.0 RB Kenny King 94.0 RB Barry Word 94.2 RB Troy Hambrick 94.3 RB Earnest Byner 94.7 RB Onterrio Smith 94.7 RB Jesse Chatman 95.0 RB Maurice Jones-Drew 95.2 RB Tom Watkins 95.3 RB Tony Lorick 95.5 RB Tatum Bell 95.6 RB John Settle 95.7 RB Delvin Williams 95.7 RB Justin Fargas 95.8 RB Cid Edwards 96.0 RB Lenvil Elliott 96.2 RB Barry Sanders 96.6 RB Fred Taylor 96.7 RB Robert Weathers 96.8 RB Duane Thomas 97.2 RB Ron Rivers 97.5 RB Ahman Green 97.5 RB Maurice Morris 97.8 RB Chris Johnson 98.0 RB Horace Ivory 98.2 RB Reggie Brooks 98.3 RB Rob Carpenter 98.4 RB Ricky Ervins 98.7 RB Prentice Gautt 98.8 RB LeShon Johnson 99.1 RB Abner Haynes 99.1 RB Trung Canidate 99.2 RB Eddie George 99.3 RB Earl Campbell 99.3 RB Marv Hubbard 99.5 RB Derrick Blaylock 99.5 RB Clinton Portis 99.5 RB Charley Young 99.8 RB Dave Smith 100.0 RB Gill Fenerty
Jones looks on track to have another season with 20-100 carries and average (well) over 5.0 yards per carry. Only five other players have done that since 1960, including two players who would one day lead the league in carries. Who knows how Jones' career will turn out, but at this point, there doesn't appear to be much of a ceiling on it.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 at 7:33 am and is filed under Player articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.