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Checkdowns: YPC Differential Leaders

Wilson's rushing prowess has powered Seattle this year

Wilson's rushing prowess has powered Seattle this year

[End of Year update: Seattle finished the season with 2,762 rushing yards on 525 carries, good enough for a 5.26 YPC average. The Seahawks allowed just 1,304 yards on 380 carries, which translates to a 3.43 YPC average. Therefore, the 2014 Seahawks averaged 1.83 more yards per carry than they allowed; that’s the second best differential since the merger, and just a behind the ’63 Browns for the third best since 1950.]

Last season, the Seahawks posted the best ANY/A differential in the NFL. In fact, it was the 9th best ANY/A differential of any team since the merger, and Seattle wound up becoming the 5th team in the top ten in that statistic to win the Super Bowl.

You heard all about Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas and the great Seahawks pass defense, and it’s not as though Russell Wilson was flying under the radar, either. But this year, the Seahawks are recording even more extreme statistics in a different differential stat.

Yards per carry is super overrated: Danny Tuccitto did a nice job revealing that just a couple of days ago. But hey, I love trivia, so let’s move on.

Seattle ranks 1st in the NFL in yards per carry (5.08). Marshawn Lynch is at 4.2 YPC on 132 carries, but it’s Wilson’s 7.6 yards per carry average on 52 carries that sets the Seahawks apart. But the defense — so unstoppable against the pass in 2013 — ranks 1st in this metric, too. Seattle is allowing just 3.19 yards per carry this year; if it holds, that would be the best mark since the 2010 Steelers.

Combine, though, is where the Seahawks really stand out. Seattle has a 1.89 YPC differential, defined as YPC for the offense minus YPC allowed for the defense. How good is that? If it holds, it would be the 2nd best mark since 1950:

RkTmYearRecordWin %YPC (Off)YPC (Def)Diff
1MIN20078-80.55.333.132.21
2SEA20145-30.6255.083.191.88
3CLE196310-40.7145.743.91.83
4RAM198410-60.6255.293.561.73
5ATL20067-90.4385.473.751.72
6SFO19547-4-10.6255.653.941.71
7SDG196311-30.7865.573.881.69
8DET19979-70.5635.513.891.62
9BAL200012-40.754.32.691.62
10NYG195010-20.8334.542.931.6
11DET19949-70.5635.123.641.49
12JAX20068-80.54.953.481.48
13DTX196211-30.7865.033.561.46
14MIN201210-60.6255.423.961.46
15BAL200310-60.6254.843.431.42
16CLE19589-30.755.323.921.39
17PHI201310-60.6255.133.771.37
18SFO201211-4-10.7195.063.71.36
19STL19606-5-10.5424.873.521.34
20KAN196611-2-10.8215.183.841.34
21BOS19619-4-10.6794.312.971.33
22PIT197610-40.7144.553.221.33
23DET19897-90.4384.883.571.31
24DAL19748-60.5714.533.221.3
25MIN20066-100.3754.122.831.29
26MIN20113-130.1885.173.91.27
27BAL20099-70.5634.73.431.27
28PHI199010-60.6254.733.471.26
29PIT197912-40.754.643.381.26
30STL199913-30.8134.783.521.26
31PIT200113-30.8134.783.531.26
32NYJ20141-80.1114.733.481.26
33PHI201010-60.6255.434.171.25
34DTX19616-80.4294.973.721.25
35DET19818-80.54.693.461.23
36ATL200411-50.6885.13.871.23
37PIT197211-30.7865.073.851.22
38SFO19994-120.255.013.81.21
39OAK19739-4-10.6794.593.381.21
40DAL196610-3-10.754.513.31.2
41SFO198810-60.6254.793.61.19
42BAL20075-110.3134.032.841.19
43MIN200810-60.6254.493.321.18
44BUF199211-50.6884.443.271.17
45DET19517-4-10.6254.493.321.17
46CLE19528-40.6674.533.371.16
47NYG19519-2-10.7923.492.331.16
48BUF19739-50.6435.13.951.15
49DAL197111-30.7864.393.241.15
50OAK19967-90.4384.773.621.15
51SFO19539-30.755.033.891.14
52SEA200513-30.8134.733.61.14
53RAI19875-100.3334.633.491.13
54JAX20035-110.3134.313.181.13
55STL200114-20.8754.873.751.12
56DAL196812-20.8574.363.241.12
57SFO199812-40.755.184.081.11
58BUF19669-4-10.6794.163.061.1
59BUF196412-20.8574.153.041.1
60KAN199513-30.8134.383.281.1
61NWE197811-50.6884.723.621.09
62BOS19668-4-20.6434.173.081.09
63SDG19906-100.3754.663.571.09
64DEN199814-20.8754.73.621.09
65CLE195010-20.8334.573.491.08
66DAL197310-40.7144.463.381.08
67MIA197312-20.8574.973.91.08
68MIN20026-100.3755.34.231.07
69PIT201012-40.754.083.021.07
70PIT199711-50.6884.333.271.06
71SDG19985-110.3133.762.71.06
72IND19855-110.3135.033.981.05
73NYG200812-40.755.023.971.04
74RAM19564-80.3335.154.111.04
75DET19844-11-10.2814.523.481.04
76BAL197110-40.7144.23.161.04
77DEN20029-70.5634.963.931.03
78CHI198614-20.8754.463.431.03
79KAN19647-70.54.43.371.03
80NYJ20138-80.54.383.351.02
81PIT197410-3-10.754.433.411.02
82NYJ20089-70.5634.753.731.02
83CLE19669-50.6435.224.211.01
84RAM19718-5-10.6074.653.641.01
85OAK196713-10.9294.213.211
86WAS201210-60.6255.224.221
87NWE197611-30.7864.9940.99
88DET19809-70.5634.543.560.98
89CLE19608-3-10.7085.044.060.98
90GNB19608-40.6674.643.670.97
91SDG19914-120.254.843.870.97
92RAM197312-20.8574.443.470.97
93CLE19679-50.6434.823.850.97
94GNB19714-8-20.3574.463.490.97
95SDG20059-70.5634.463.490.96
96GNB196213-10.9294.753.790.96
97DET197010-40.7144.143.180.96
98CLE19549-30.753.772.820.94
99TEN20098-80.55.194.260.94
100PIT199610-60.6254.383.440.94

As Seattle is finding out this year, being dominant in ANY/A differential is better than being dominant in YPC differential. If you need more convincing, take a look at the #32 team on the list.

  • Duff Soviet Union

    It’s interesting, but not surprising in the slightest, just how much better the “pass and stop the pass” teams are than the “run and stop the run” teams.

    The passing teams have 5 Super Bowl winners in the top 10 compared to 1 for the running teams.

    The second best “running team” to win it all were the 99 Rams…who also finished top 10 all time in the passing differential stat. Pretty great team, strength of schedule issues aside.

    Also, I just checked football outsiders and they have the 2014 Hawks as a way better rushing team than the Williams Wall and AP Vikings on both offense and defense. 29.1% above average vs 14.4% above average on offense and 31.7% above average vs 22.1% above average on defense.

  • Chase Stuart

    Update: After rushing 45 times for 350 ards against the Giants in week 10, Seattle is now averaging 5.51 YPC this year. The defense is now allowing 3.19 YPC, giving Seattle a 2.32 YPC differential. That’s the 2nd most in NFL history, behind only the 1939 Bears (2.35).

  • Chase Stuart

    Through 14 weeks, the Seahawks are averaging 5.20 YPC and allowing 3.47 YPC. That 1.73 differential would be good enough for 3rd place in NFL history, a few thousandths of a point ahead of the ’84 Rams.