During the regular season, I write quite a bit about explosive plays of 20 yards or more as it relates to teams winning and losing games, but I have wanted to look at big plays produced by all of the teams running backs and fullbacks for some time now.
The stats below reflect plays produced by running backs and fullbacks by team in 2012 that went for 10 yards or more and these are also broken down by rushes and receptions. These should by no means be considered official, but they should be very, very close.
As you can see, the New England Patriots were tops in the league last season with 85 total plays from their running backs and fullbacks that went for 10 yards or more. A close second were the Minnesota Vikings with 81 such plays. It should be noted, however, that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had a stunning 61 rushes last season that went for 10 yards or more. To really show how amazing that number is, he carried the ball a total of 348 times during the regular season which means that ever 5.71 times that he carried the football, he gained 10 or more yards. Let\'s also not forget that he suffered a serious knee injury late in the 2011 season in addition.
As far as the Pittsburgh Steelers went in 2012, they had a total of 65 plays that went for 10 yards or more from either running backs or fullbacks. Running back Isaac Redman led the team with 10 receptions of 10 yards or more while running back Jonathan Dwyer led the team with 21 rushes for 10 yards or more. A pleasant surprise last year for the Steelers was fullback Will Johnson, who chipped in 5 receptions of 10 yards or more.
Although the Steelers ranked around the middle of the league as far as total plays went, their average of 15.4 yards per explosive play was near the bottom of the league.
So what do we have to look forward to in 2013 for the Steelers. As I pointed out in a recent post about rookie running back Le\'Veon Bell, in 2012 at Michigan State he had 34 runs that went for 10 yards or more. While I don\'t yet have the number of receptions that he had that went for 10 yards or more, I do know that he had one that went for 15 yards or more of the 32 passes that he caught in 2012.
In case you are curious, in 2011 the Steelers had 43 runs by either a running back or fullback that went for 10 yards or more, but only 10 receptions from those positions that went for 10 yards or more and running back Rashard Mendenhall was responsible for 25 of those 53 explosive plays.
Of course down, distance, field position and score of the game plays a big role in these stats, but hopefully with Bell now in the fold, the Steelers can improve their production in this area of their offense.
Stats below should be sortable by clicking on a column header.