What a crazy day of football. Three morning games went into overtime and we saw the Jets, Bills, Bengals, and Vikings get to two wins before the Steelers, Patriots, Lions, and Panthers. The Cardinals are 3-0. The Saints are 0-3.
This game. I love this damn, crazy, unpredictable, frustrating game.
Some running backs had their day, and others did not. Here is the breakdown:
Jamaal Charles against the Saints (OPPA GANGNAM STYLE)
How's that ACL? Charles had 33 carries for 233 yards, a touchdown, and 55 yards receiving. He had just 90 yards on 22 carries coming into the game, but could be considered a solid RB1 again by flashing masterful ability. However it also can't be ignored that New Orleans might be the worst run defense in the league, the kind of defense you target any running back against. They had given up the most rushing yards in the league coming into the game and now they've got a monster "lead" in that category. Upcoming running backs against New Orleans: Cedric Benson, Ryan Mathews, and Doug Martin. Even "Bye" week might get 100 yards and a score.
MJD was rather quiet over the first two weeks with 137 yards on 31 carries, 1 touchdown catch. He wasn't quiet against a bad Colts defense though, rushing for 177 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. The Jags get a suspect Bengals defense in week 4 and Jones-Drew should be squarely back in the conversation for another rushing title.
In replacement of the injured Fred Jackson, Spiller has been filling in like a champ but after 58 total yards and a touchdown on Sunday, he joined Jackson on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. Choice came in and ran for 91 yards on 20 carries. There is some talk that Jackson could be back as soon as next week, but it's far too early to tell what the injury report will look like when the Bills take on the Patriots. Choice has made five starts in his career and has never rushed for more than 500 yards in a season.
Trent Richardson against the Bills (BAD)
27 yards on 12 carries. I don't think anyone is going to be concerned that he's the next Chris Johnson, but just remember that the Browns are the Browns and T-Rich will get taken out of games early and often when Cleveland loses. They play at the Ravens and Giants in the next two weeks.
Reggie Bush against the Jets (HURT)
I was saying to myself earlier in the weekend that Reggie Bush is finally starting to look like an elite player on this level that he looked like at the college level. Then he got hurt. Bush left with a knee injury and did not return, his status in the future unknown. Lamar Miller had 9 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown, Daniel Thomas had 19 carries for 69 yards, a touchdown and a fumble. Miller looks like the better player, but if Bush misses any time it coud be a share situation.
After a season lost to injury and a two-game suspension, Leshoure made his NFL debut and first career start, rushing for exactly 100 yards on 26 carries with a score. It's not "spectacular" but it's solid and he can be considered the unquestioned starter and a RB2. Leshoure takes on the Vikings next week.
Chris Johnson against the Lions (HE MIGHT BE THE WORST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE)
These are just fun numbers to run! Hear that, Chris?! Run! Is that word in your vocabulary?!
Johnson had 24 yards on 14 carries against Detroit. He now has run for 45 yards on 33 carries in three games. Compare that to his terrible start to the 2011 season: 46 carries for 98 yards through three games. It's not even close to being as inept as he is in 2011. He blames the offensive line? Sorry, you could have the worst offensive line in football and that's still no excuse. The Lions are not a very good run defense. Stop making any excuse other than "I'm not very good anymore."
I don't know where the talent went, but it is completely gone. Stop think of Chris Johnson (He hasn't even earned the nickname CJ2YardsPerCarry yet) as Chris Johnson and start thinking of him like... I dont know, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He's a mediocre RB3.
Darren McFadden against the Steelers (TOO MUCH ON ONE PLAY)
While McFadden had 113 yards on 18 carries, 64 of them came on a single play. That leaves 49 yards for his other 17 carries, not a great stat. Of course, he can break out the big play, but I'm not enjoying his season very much so far. He had just 54 yards on 26 carries coming into the game. McFadden was expected to be more involved at the goal line (had a touchdown called back) and passing game (two targets for two yards!) and it's been a mostly-rough three weeks. I'm close to downgrading him to a RB2.
Has Williams finally taken over as the bulk carrier for the Cardinals? He had 83 yards on 13 carries, while Beanie Wells struggled with 18 yards on eight.
Willis McGahee - 12 for 36
Isaac Redman - 9 for 27
Ben Tate - 8 for 26
Stevan Ridley - 13 for 37
Ryan Mathews - 10 for 44
BenJarvus Green-Ellis - 17 for 38, TD
Pierre Thomas - 6 for 11
Mark Ingram - 5 for 11
Kendall Hunter - 4 for 0
Shonne Green - 19 for 40
Doug Martin - 19 for 53
DeMarco Murray - 18 for 38
Steven Jackson - 11 for 29
Man, a whole lot of underwhelming going on. That's why having MJD or Jamaal was so damn important this week, and will continue to be when it comes to finding the top running backs. Tune in again next week and we'll see who is next to underwhelm!
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