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Franchises Nemeses: Rushing Stats

Yesterday, I looked at the players who threw for the most yards and touchdowns against each franchise. Today I will do the same but with rushing statistics.

But before going on, I’d urge you to take a few minutes and re-read this incredible document our founders signed 237 years ago. It’s great having a day off in the summer to barbecue and celebrate with family and friends, but it’s important to take a few moments and remember what this holiday really means. Like preventing this site from becoming Futbol Perspective.

Let’s again start with a bit of trivia. Do you know which player has rushed for the most yards against any one opponent?

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What about the most rushing touchdowns?

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Let’s take a look at the players who have rushed for the most yards against each franchise:

TeamOpposing RBRush YdsGms
GNBWalter Payton248424
PHIEmmitt Smith246626
WASEmmitt Smith244024
ARIEmmitt Smith228625
MINWalter Payton227924
TAMBarry Sanders219519
OAKLaDainian Tomlinson205519
NYGEmmitt Smith202725
DETWalter Payton196025
CLEFranco Harris192823
NWEThurman Thomas192524
CHIBarry Sanders184619
CINJerome Bettis179420
BUFCurtis Martin177921
INDCurtis Martin164515
MIAThurman Thomas162020
NYJO.J. Simpson160217
DENMarcus Allen159627
SDGMarcus Allen154127
KANLaDainian Tomlinson150418
TENFranco Harris149722
SEAMarcus Allen146729
PITJim Brown139612
SFOJim Taylor133315
DALTiki Barber130419
JAXEddie George126616
NORWarrick Dunn113517
STLRoger Craig102617
ATLRoger Craig101216
CARWarrick Dunn97314
BALJerome Bettis96914
HOUChris Johnson89310

Payton remains the king.

Payton remains the king.

I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising to see the career rushing leader come up for each of his four NFC East rivals. Walter Payton and Barry Sanders tore up the NFC Central/North for about a quarter century, and the list reflects as much. Payton took the top slot against the Packers, Vikings, and Sanders’ Lions, while the former Oklahoma State Cowboy was #1 against Payton’s Bears and the Bucs. Sanders did average more rushing yards per game than Payton did against Green Bay and Minnesota, but retiring early hurt Sanders in those races.

Similarly, Marcus Allen and LaDainian Tomlinson split up the AFC West. Tomlinson is the career leader against both of Allen’s former teams, the Raiders and Chiefs, while Allen is the career leader against the Chargers, Broncos, and Seahawks. The only “fair” battle in that one was the for Broncos head, with Allen gaining 1,594 yards in 28 games compared to LT’s 1,540 yards in 19 games.

As was the case yesterday, these stats only go back to 1960, but it’s still cool seeing Jim Brown get on there against the Steelers. And another day brings about another weird 49ers tidbit. Yesterday, it was seeing Johnny Unitas come in at #1 against San Francisco in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. Today, it’s seeing former Packers great Jim Taylor lead with 1,333 rushing yards. Steven Jackson trails him by fewer than 100 yards, and the Falcons do travel to San Francisco in week 16 this year. Of course, Taylor’s actual number is probably a bit higher since he did play the 49ers a few times prior to 1960.

What if we look at rushing touchdowns? As I did yesterday, I used yards as the tiebreaker.

Emmitt Smith again comes in first against the Giants, Cardinals, Eagles, and Redskins. Allen and Tomlinson against split the AFC West, but this time, the Broncos fall to LT. Adrian Peterson is already #1 against the Bears.

Due to shifting divisions, the Saints and Falcons ones are weird. Warrick Dunn and Roger Craig weren’t too weird as the rushing yards leaders, but Gerald Riggs and Ken Willard?

How about Michael Turner being #1 all-time against the Panthers? Or Kordell Stewart finishing first against the Ravens? He’s tied with another Steeler, Amos Zereoue, as both had five rushing touchdowns against Baltimore. These numbers are regular season only: if you include playoffs, Zereoue vaults to #1 by himself with seven.

NFL history trivia is not boring.

  • What’s this “if you include playoffs” nonsense? Are you trying to take away Kordell Stewart’s only NFL achievement??!! How dare you do that to a great Buffalo, sir!
    /CU grad

    This list contains fewer surprises and interesting tidbits than yesterday’s, which is rather odd since it’s more common for a good running back to change teams than for a quarterback to do so. On the yardage list, I was actually most surprised by seeing Roger Craig appear twice and by seeing that Marcus Allen rather than LaDainian Tomlinson was the all-time leader against the Broncos. Obviously I wasn’t too far off in thinking it would be Tomlinson, but I never would have guessed that Roger Craig would show up on this list twice.

    • (btw, I read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on Independence Day every year, so I heartily endorse Chase’s opening sentiments.)

  • Marko Markovic

    Considering you probably have to read this in terms of “yards allowed per season of franchise existence, it is pretty incredible that no rusher rushed more against Atlanta than 1012 yards. I mean, with younger franchises like BAL, HOU, CAR, ok, there wasn’t enough time, but Atlanta just played their 47th season for heaven’s sake.