By Ken Crippen
Pro Football Researchers Association

 
This week, before we get into all of the league's Rusher Rating numbers, we will focus on Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks.

Lynch has been on a tear of late, with his overall Rusher Rating increasing on almost a weekly basis. Also, he is the first running back this season to score a rushing touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers defense.
 
Rusher Rating Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Overall 266 1,118 4.20 12 3 110.05
 
Real Running Back Rating Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TD Rusher Rating Real RB Rating Diff.
Overall 26 207 1 110.05 92.22 -17.83
 
Currently, Lynch is second overall in Rusher Rating for the season, behind LeSean McCoy. He has steadily increased his production as the season has progressed, climbing the Rusher Rating standings. With only one game remaining in the regular season, there is no way for him to catch McCoy, but Lynch can clinch second place with a solid performance against in Arizona against the Cardinals. Arizona has a 99.89 Defensive Rusher Rating, so the potential is there for a big day. However, Lynch had a 73.86 Rusher Rating in their first meeting.
 
Let’s break down Lynch’s numbers. Here is how he performed in each game:
 
Season Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
@ San Francisco 49ers 13 33 2.54 0 0 66.71
@ Pittsburgh Steelers 6 11 1.83 0 0 62.84
ArizonaCardinals 19 73 3.84 0 0 73.86
AtlantaFalcons 8 24 3.00 1 0 122.02
@ New York Giants 12 98 8.17 1 1 110.55
CincinnatiBengals 16 24 1.50 1 1 83.92
@ Dallas Cowboys 23 135 5.87 1 0 123.15
BaltimoreRavens 32 109 3.41 1 0 98.90
@ St. Louis Rams 27 88 3.26 1 1 85.48
WashingtonRedskins 24 111 4.63 0 0 78.16
PhiladelphiaEagles 22 148 6.73 2 0 142.47
St. LouisRams 23 115 5.00 1 0 118.38
@ Chicago Bears 20 42 2.10 2 0 117.08
San Francisco49ers 21 107 5.10 1 0 122.53
 
Now, let’s start to dig into the situational statistics.
 
  Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Running Lane            
Left Sideline 19 69 3.63 1 0 118.90
Left Side 97 411 4.24 5 1 116.35
Middle 48 175 3.65 1 1 81.12
Right Side 87 379 4.36 4 1 111.55
Right Sideline 15 84 5.60 1 0 136.28
 
Attempts            
1 through 10 134 602 4.49 6 3 106.04
11 through 20 100 376 3.76 4 0 108.52
21 through 30 30 128 4.27 2 0 128.97
31 through 40 2 12 6.00 0 0 85.70
 
Field Position            
Own 1-20 60 274 4.57 0 1 69.87
Own 21-50 96 359 3.74 0 1 68.32
Opponent 49-20 71 369 5.20 1 0 93.66
Redzone 39 116 2.97 11 1 109.63
 
Half            
1st 129 551 4.27 5 3 99.13
2nd 137 567 4.14 7 0 120.34
 
Quarter            
1st 67 276 4.12 4 2 113.52
2nd 62 275 4.44 1 1 83.57
3rd 74 309 4.18 3 0 111.28
4th 63 258 4.10 4 0 128.03
 
Lynch drops off in efficiency in the second quarter. He gains momentum as the game progresses, based on his second-half numbers, as well as his increase in Rusher Rating as the number of carries increases.
 
Point Differential Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
When Winning 120 532 4.43 3 0 99.05
When Losing 82 291 3.55 5 1 119.20
When Tied 64 295 4.61 4 2 118.00
 
Winning by 15-21 Points 41 185 4.51 1 0 98.95
Winning by 1-7 Points 73 322 4.41 2 0 101.03
Losing by 1-7 Points 49 162 3.31 2 1 97.00
Losing by 15-21 Points 24 80 3.33 2 0 123.85
 
 
Let’s look at how he performs based on margins of victory:
 
Margin of Victory Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Wins 155 673 4.34 8 2 115.74
Losses 111 445 4.01 4 1 102.10
 
Win by 1-7 Points 104 424 4.08 3 0 100.47
Win by 8-14 Points 35 233 6.66 2 1 125.81
Win by 15+ Points 127 461 3.63 7 2 113.55
 
 
Finally, let’s break down Lynch’s rushing by down and distance:
 
Down and Distance Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
1st Down            
To Go: 1-2 Yards 4 6 1.50 4 0 113.79
To Go: 3-7 Yards 6 14 2.33 2 0 118.36
To Go: 8-10 Yards 130 572 4.40 3 2 89.83
To Go: 11+ Yards 6 34 5.67 1 0 136.65
2nd Down            
To Go: 1-2 Yards 13 38 2.92 0 0 68.82
To Go: 3-7 Yards 44 186 4.23 1 0 95.92
To Go: 8-10 Yards 42 153 3.64 0 1 61.39
To Go: 11+ Yards 8 51 6.38 0 0 87.76
3rd Down            
To Go: 1-2 Yards 9 26 2.89 1 0 121.41
To Go: 3-7 Yards           n/a
To Go: 8-10 Yards 2 27 13.50 0 0 126.85
To Go: 11+ Yards 1 9 9.00 0 0 102.16
4th Down            
To Go: 1-2 Yards 1 2 2.00 0 0 63.75
 
Based strictly on down and distance, Lynch is best on third downs. He also does well on first and short/medium yardage, as well as first and 11+. He drops off on second and fourth downs.

 

Rusher Rating Differential
 

As mentioned previously, for the first time this season, the San Francisco 49ers gave up a rushing touchdown. That dropped their overall Rusher Rating Differential, but they still have a comfortable lead in not only Rusher Rating Differential (35.12), but on Defensive Rusher Rating (58.27). Their closest competitor for Rusher Rating Differential is the Carolina Panthers at 28.71, while their closest competitor for Defensive Rusher Rating is the Baltimore Ravens at 79.81.
 
The Panthers have the best Offensive Rusher Rating at 130.74. Headed by DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton, their rushing attack exceeds the competition. The Minnesota Vikings have the second-best rushing attack with a 110.59 Offensive Rusher Rating.
 
If the season were to end today, five of the eight division leaders are in the top 10 in Rusher Rating Differential. Seven of the eight division winners are in the top 15, with the Denver Broncos being the lone team not in the top half of the league in Rusher Rating Differential.
 
Moving on to the playoff picture, six of the twelve teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today are in the top 10 in Rusher Rating Differential. If we expand it to the top 15, eight of the 12 playoff teams appear on the list. Atlanta, Denver, Cincinnati and Detroit do not make the cut.
 
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 461 93.39 329 58.27 35.12
Carolina Panthers 421 130.74 416 102.03 28.71
Minnesota Vikings 421 110.59 414 90.83 19.76
Baltimore Ravens 427 95.60 395 79.81 15.79
Philadelphia Eagles 431 109.52 389 95.03 14.49
New England Patriots 409 106.59 384 92.94 13.65
New Orleans Saints 396 109.00 327 95.80 13.20
Pittsburgh Steelers 398 99.66 384 88.08 11.58
Houston Texans 516 96.85 356 85.46 11.39
San Diego Chargers 404 99.17 424 89.93 9.24
Seattle Seahawks 411 93.31 442 87.01 6.30
New York  Giants 380 102.52 419 97.56 4.96
Green Bay Packers 371 99.15 368 94.43 4.72
Miami Dolphins 442 84.14 385 79.82 4.32
Chicago Bears 431 90.97 357 88.02 2.95
Tennessee Titans 354 88.17 431 85.33 2.84
Atlanta Falcons 415 93.52 358 93.87 -0.35
Denver Broncos 499 89.12 458 89.67 -0.55
New York Jets 416 93.75 425 98.53 -4.78
Cincinnati Bengals 431 84.65 393 90.15 -5.50
Oakland Raiders 442 101.90 399 107.83 -5.93
Detroit Lions 341 90.87 385 97.46 -6.59
Arizona Cardinals 358 91.97 441 99.89 -7.92
Buffalo Bills 371 92.77 438 104.25 -11.48
Washington Redskins 375 88.12 419 100.10 -11.98
Dallas Cowboys 392 78.83 354 91.27 -12.44
St. Louis Rams 384 78.98 473 95.37 -16.39
Indianapolis Colts 360 86.44 505 104.03 -17.59
Jacksonville Jaguars 454 78.01 413 95.84 -17.83
Kansas City Chiefs 457 76.69 461 94.75 -18.06
Cleveland Browns 400 69.62 498 92.55 -22.93
TampaBay Buccaneers 332 88.58 460 114.11 -25.53
 
  Rusher Rating

Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller leads all rushers in Week 16, with a 143.62 Rusher Rating. Rashard Mendenhall put together another solid performance to come in second with a 136.90 Rusher Rating. Houston’s Arian Foster was third with 128.64.

Here are the top 10 rushers of Week 16 with a minimum of 15 attempts, based on Rusher Rating:
 
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
C.J. Spiller – BUF 16 111 6.94 1 0 143.62
Rashard Mendenhall – PIT 18 116 6.44 1 0 136.90
Arian Foster – HOU 23 158 6.87 1 0 128.64
Ahmad Bradshaw – NYG 15 54 3.60 2 0 125.31
Kevin Smith – DET 15 49 3.27 1 0 123.48
Marshawn Lynch – SEA 21 107 5.10 1 0 122.53
Maurice Jones-Drew – JAX 24 103 4.29 1 0 112.90
Frank Gore – SF 23 83 3.61 1 0 110.74
Evan Royster – WAS 19 132 6.95 0 0 90.90
Kahlil Bell – CHI 23 121 5.26 0 0 81.64
 
 
Barring a major upset, LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles should with the Rusher Rating title for the 2011 season. The Eagles are steadily moving up the Rusher Rating Differential chart, but it is too late for them to make it to the playoffs. They were officially eliminated with the New York Giants beating their intra-city rival New York Jets. As mentioned previously, Lynch has been making a statement after a rough start to the season. He and Mendenhall are battling for second place, with Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Arizona’s Chris “Beanie” Wells rounding out the top five.
 
Now, the top 10 rushers of the season with a minimum of 215 attempts, based on Rusher Rating:
 
Player Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
LeSean McCoy – PHI 273 1,309 4.79 17 1 130.11
Marshawn Lynch – SEA 266 1,118 4.20 12 3 110.05
Rashard Mendenhall – PIT 220 890 4.05 9 1 108.71
Ray Rice – BAL 267 1,173 4.39 10 2 106.18
Chris Wells – ARI 245 1,047 4.27 10 4 104.25
Arian Foster – HOU 278 1,224 4.40 10 4 101.64
Frank Gore – SF 275 1,202 4.37 8 2 98.82
Michael Turner – ATL 284 1,168 4.11 9 3 98.11
Michael Bush – OAK 237 911 3.84 7 1 97.78
Reggie Bush – MIA 216 1,086 5.03 6 4 95.90
 
 
Real Running Back Rating
 
Looking at the season leaders (based on Rusher Rating) through Week 16 of the NFL regular season (minimum 215 attempts) we have the following (Listed by Real Running Back Rating):
 
Player Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TD Rusher Rating Real RB Rating Diff.
LeSean McCoy – PHI 48 315 3 130.11 110.87 -19.24
Ray Rice – BAL 74 696 3 106.18 92.97 -13.21
Marshawn Lynch – SEA 26 207 1 110.05 92.22 -17.83
Arian Foster – HOU 53 617 2 101.64 91.86 -9.78
Michael Bush – OAK 35 405 1 97.78 86.44 -11.34
Rashard Mendenhall – PIT 17 147 0 108.71 78.13 -30.58
Reggie Bush – MIA 43 296 1 95.90 77.15 -18.75
Michael Turner – ATL 13 132 0 98.11 73.68 -24.43
Chris Wells – ARI 10 52 0 104.25 70.44 -33.81
Frank Gore – SF 17 114 0 98.82 69.35 -29.47
 
Not only does McCoy lead in overall Rusher Rating for the season, but he also leads in Real Running Back Rating. His 110.87 Real Running Back Rating places him comfortably ahead of Rice, who has a 92.97 Real Running Back Rating.

 
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.