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In 2014, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown combined to account for 57.9% of the Steelers 6,777 total yards. In 2015, Bell missed most of the year with a knee injury, but in 2016, the duo combined to account for 51.8% of Pittsburgh’s offensive yards, despite the pair combining to miss five games! Through six games in 2017, Brown had 700 yards and Bell had 706 yards, placing both of them in the top five in yards from scrimmage. In fact, since the Steelers had 2,165 yards through six weeks, it means Bell and Brown were responsible for 64.9% of the team’s offensive production.  In week seven, Bell and Brown combined for 257 yards; only a fake punt that netted 44 yards prevented the pair from again picking up two-thirds of the offense (Pittsburgh had 420 yards of offense, so Bell and Brown had 61.1% of the Steelers yards from scrimmage; that number would have been 68.4% without the fake punt).

That made me wonder: which pair of teammates have accounted for the largest share of their offense’s production? The 1978 Bears had a really good player in the backfield who rushed for 992 yards and caught 43 passes for 340 yards.  They also had Walter Payton, who led the NFL for the second straight year with 1,875 yards from scrimmage. His backfield teammate was fullback Roland Harper, who actually finished second on the team to Payton in receptions (WR James Scott did lead the team be a healthy margin in receiving yards).

The ’78 Bears had a mediocre offense, finishing with 4,747 yards from scrimmage (Chicago ranked 27th out of 28 teams in ANY/A, tho the Bears of course were a very good rushing team). But since Payton had 1,875 yards (39.5%) and Harper had 1,332 yards (28.1%), the two combined for over two-thirds of all Chicago yards from scrimmage that season.

The table below shows the top 200 seasons:

RkTeamYearPlayer 1% of Tm YFSPlayer 2% of Tm YFSTm YdsTop 2 %
1CHI1978Walter Payton39.5%Roland Harper28.1%474767.6%
2BOS1933Cliff Battles33.3%Jim Musick32.1%276665.4%
3IND1999Edgerrin James36.6%Marvin Harrison28.5%584265.1%
4BOS1932Cliff Battles43.4%Jim Musick21.6%146565%
5GNB1972John Brockington34.7%MacArthur Lane30.2%366364.9%
6DET1994Barry Sanders41.9%Herman Moore22.7%516564.6%
7DAL1995Emmitt Smith36.1%Michael Irvin27%594263.1%
8CLE1959Jim Brown36.3%Bobby Mitchell26.2%418262.5%
9DAL1991Emmitt Smith33.9%Michael Irvin28.3%537462.2%
10NYG1956Frank Gifford38.1%Alex Webster23.9%373062%
11OAK1963Clem Daniels35.7%Art Powell26.1%500061.8%
12BUF1973O.J. Simpson47.9%Jim Braxton13.8%432461.7%
13ATL1972Art Malone32.2%Dave Hampton28.9%429461.1%
14SEA1994Chris Warren38.2%Brian Blades22.8%489361%
15SDG2003LaDainian Tomlinson44.1%David Boston16.7%537260.8%
16NYG2005Tiki Barber40%Plaxico Burress20.3%597160.4%
17CLE1960Jim Brown34.2%Bobby Mitchell26.2%427360.4%
18CHI1976Walter Payton37.8%Roland Harper22.5%406860.3%
19DET1997Barry Sanders38.9%Herman Moore21.3%606960.2%
20DAL1992Emmitt Smith35.8%Michael Irvin24.3%571860.1%
21CHI1977Walter Payton43.5%James Scott16.6%488160%
22BUF1975O.J. Simpson39.8%Jim Braxton19.6%563559.4%
23CLE1965Jim Brown40.1%Gary Collins19.3%467059.4%
24IND2000Edgerrin James36.7%Marvin Harrison22.5%627259.2%
25CLE1961Jim Brown39.7%Bobby Mitchell19.5%470159.2%
26GNB1973John Brockington36.6%MacArthur Lane22.5%347659.1%
27SFO1976Delvin Williams33.7%Wilbur Jackson25.3%441059%
28HOU1967Hoyle Granger40.9%Woody Campbell17.7%365458.6%
29BAL1960Lenny Moore29.4%Raymond Berry29.1%445358.6%
30NYJ1999Curtis Martin34.7%Keyshawn Johnson23.7%496258.4%
31CLE1963Jim Brown41.9%Ernie Green16.3%508858.2%
32WAS1964Charley Taylor36.4%Bobby Mitchell21.8%430858.2%
33WAS2005Clinton Portis31.3%Santana Moss26.8%552958.1%
34IND1988Eric Dickerson39.8%Bill Brooks18.2%511458%
35PIT2014Le'Veon Bell32.7%Antonio Brown25.2%677757.9%
36NYG2006Tiki Barber39.4%Plaxico Burress18.3%540057.7%
37CLE1967Leroy Kelly33.4%Ernie Green24.2%445357.6%
38SFO2006Frank Gore43.1%Antonio Bryant14.5%506257.5%
39KAN2006Larry Johnson40.8%Tony Gonzalez16.7%538657.5%
40CLE1964Jim Brown38%Paul Warfield19.6%470557.5%
41BAL2003Jamal Lewis43.7%Todd Heap13.8%519157.5%
42CIN1973Essex Johnson28.9%Boobie Clark28.6%467557.5%
43RAI1985Marcus Allen40.3%Todd Christensen17.2%574357.5%
44IND1998Marshall Faulk42.6%Marvin Harrison14.9%522557.5%
45STL2006Steven Jackson38.1%Torry Holt19.4%613357.4%
46ATL1998Jamal Anderson37%Tony Martin20.2%584557.2%
47DET1995Barry Sanders30.3%Herman Moore26.9%626357.2%
48NYJ2001Curtis Martin37.2%Laveranues Coles19.8%492557%
49ATL1981William Andrews34.2%Alfred Jenkins22.8%595157%
50CLE1977Greg Pruitt34%Cleo Miller22.9%457456.9%
51TAM1984James Wilder39.2%Kevin House17.7%568356.9%
52NYG2004Tiki Barber41.9%Amani Toomer14.9%500156.8%
53DET1996Barry Sanders32.2%Herman Moore24.6%527356.8%
54DAL1994Emmitt Smith33.7%Michael Irvin22.9%541456.6%
55OAK1997Napoleon Kaufman30.7%Tim Brown25.8%553256.5%
56ATL2015Julio Jones30.1%Devonta Freeman26.3%620856.5%
57MIA2003Ricky Williams35.8%Chris Chambers20.6%481856.4%
58TEN2009Chris Johnson44%Kenny Britt12.3%569656.4%
59DAL2014DeMarco Murray35.5%Dez Bryant20.7%636256.3%
60MIN1967Dave Osborn33.1%Bill Brown23.2%376256.3%
61SDG2007LaDainian Tomlinson37.4%Antonio Gates18.9%521456.3%
62NYG1949Gene Roberts37.8%Bill Swiacki18.3%356156.1%
63NOR2002Deuce McAllister31.9%Joe Horn24.1%544956%
64RAM1986Eric Dickerson41.9%Barry Redden14.1%483756%
65NYG1943Bill Paschal29.6%Ward Cuff26.4%218056%
66DAL1993Emmitt Smith32.9%Michael Irvin23.1%577856%
67DET2008Calvin Johnson28.7%Kevin Smith27.3%463156%
68DEN1998Terrell Davis35.5%Rod Smith20.5%627655.9%
69SDG2002LaDainian Tomlinson39.5%Curtis Conway16.4%550555.9%
70BAL2002Jamal Lewis36%Travis Taylor19.8%491055.9%
71STL1960John David Crow35.3%Sonny Randle20.5%434655.8%
72CHI2012Brandon Marshall28.6%Matt Forte27.2%526855.8%
73PIT1997Jerome Bettis31.2%Yancey Thigpen24.6%569455.8%
74NYJ1964Matt Snell32.3%Bake Turner23.5%415155.8%
75NOR2003Deuce McAllister38.2%Joe Horn17.5%564155.8%
76NYG2002Tiki Barber33.2%Amani Toomer22.5%597855.7%
77SDG1972Mike Garrett28.3%Cid Edwards27.4%451155.7%
78GNB1971John Brockington29.6%Donny Anderson26.1%407155.7%
79SFO1988Roger Craig32.8%Jerry Rice22.8%619855.6%
80BUF1976O.J. Simpson37.9%Bob Chandler17.7%465055.6%
81IND1994Marshall Faulk39.4%Sean Dawkins16.2%457955.6%
82MIN2012Adrian Peterson41.6%Percy Harvin13.9%556955.4%
83SEA1998Ricky Watters33.3%Joey Galloway22.1%484555.4%
84CLE1985Earnest Byner28.3%Kevin Mack27.1%517055.4%
85TAM2012Doug Martin32.2%Vincent Jackson23.1%598155.3%
86CHI1966Gale Sayers42.6%Jim Jones12.6%394355.2%
87GNB1970Donny Anderson33.4%Carroll Dale21.7%379155.1%
88CHI2013Matt Forte30.8%Alshon Jeffery24.3%627855.1%
89HOU1964Charley Hennigan30.4%Sid Blanks24.7%508155.1%
90WAS1972Larry Brown38.7%Charley Taylor16.3%436355%
91CHI2014Matt Forte33.7%Alshon Jeffery21.3%547655%
92CAR2005Steve Smith30.8%DeShaun Foster24.2%516455%
93DAL1972Calvin Hill29.8%Walt Garrison25%470454.7%
94STL1999Marshall Faulk36.6%Isaac Bruce18%663954.6%
95RAM1984Eric Dickerson42.8%Henry Ellard11.8%524654.5%
96CHI1979Walter Payton39.1%Dave Williams15.4%491554.5%
97NYG1951Eddie Price31.5%Joe Scott23%314554.5%
98JAX2011Maurice Jones-Drew44.2%Marcedes Lewis10.3%448054.5%
99NOR2001Ricky Williams31.6%Joe Horn22.8%555654.4%
100MIA2002Ricky Williams39.8%Chris Chambers14.6%557154.4%
101NYG1944Bill Paschal30.8%Ward Cuff23.4%238954.3%
102PHI1979Wilbert Montgomery37.8%Harold Carmichael16.4%530354.3%
103SDG2006LaDainian Tomlinson38.8%Antonio Gates15.4%599054.2%
104GNB1995Edgar Bennett28.7%Robert Brooks25.4%596754.2%
105PHI1963Timmy Brown32.4%Pete Retzlaff21.8%410454.2%
106CLE2005Reuben Droughns33.2%Antonio Bryant21%482654.1%
107CAR2008DeAngelo Williams28.6%Steve Smith25.5%572554.1%
108DET1989Barry Sanders32.8%Richard Johnson21.2%533554%
109HOU2004Domanick Williams32.7%Andre Johnson21.3%542954%
110SEA2001Shaun Alexander32.6%Darrell Jackson21.4%510053.9%
111JAX2002Fred Taylor33.7%Jimmy Smith20.1%510853.9%
112MIN2000Robert Smith30.4%Randy Moss23.5%614853.9%
113WAS2004Clinton Portis33.4%Laveranues Coles20.4%463953.8%
114STL1983Ottis Anderson31%Roy Green22.8%558653.8%
115ARI2001David Boston32%Michael Pittman21.8%510253.8%
116PHI2007Brian Westbrook35.2%Kevin Curtis18.6%597953.8%
117HOU2010Arian Foster34.6%Andre Johnson19.1%641253.7%
118OAK1964Clem Daniels28.3%Art Powell25.4%536653.7%
119CRD1956Ollie Matson31.7%Johnny Olszewski22%354553.7%
120CLE1958Jim Brown38.9%Bobby Mitchell14.7%428453.6%
121PHI1933Swede Hanson38.1%Jack Roberts15.4%173353.5%
122PHI1999Duce Staley37.7%Torrance Small15.8%415153.5%
123SEA1988John Williams30.2%Curt Warner23.3%506553.4%
124BUF1972O.J. Simpson35%J.D. Hill18.5%414453.4%
125BUF1989Thurman Thomas31.4%Andre Reed22%609553.4%
126WAS1973Larry Brown33.6%Charley Taylor19.9%399953.4%
127IND2002Marvin Harrison30.1%Edgerrin James23.3%576153.4%
128KAN2010Jamaal Charles33.3%Dwayne Bowe20%581653.3%
129CHI1956Rick Casares28.5%Harlon Hill24.7%466153.2%
130CIN2004Rudi Johnson28.7%Chad Johnson24.5%535953.2%
131PIT1976Rocky Bleier27.1%Franco Harris26.1%490653.2%
132RAI1982Marcus Allen34.7%Cliff Branch18.5%316653.2%
133DEN1997Terrell Davis33.5%Rod Smith19.7%608253.2%
134NYJ2003Curtis Martin30.4%Santana Moss22.7%515953.1%
135ATL2008Michael Turner29.6%Roddy White23.6%588353.1%
136JAX2004Fred Taylor30.4%Jimmy Smith22.7%516553.1%
137BUF1974O.J. Simpson34.4%Jim Braxton18.7%382253.1%
138PHI1962Timmy Brown29.1%Tommy McDonald23.9%478753.1%
139DET1992Barry Sanders32.9%Herman Moore20.2%479453%
140SFO1977Delvin Williams28.6%Wilbur Jackson24.4%388353%
141CRD1943John Grigas30.9%Ed Rucinski22.1%180453%
142BUF2006Lee Evans28.1%Willis McGahee24.9%460353%
143NYJ1965Don Maynard28.8%Matt Snell24.2%424353%
144RAI1994Harvey Williams27.1%Tim Brown25.8%506852.9%
145KAN2002Priest Holmes37.2%Eddie Kennison15.7%614152.9%
146SDG2001LaDainian Tomlinson29.8%Curtis Conway23.1%538052.9%
147CHI1982Walter Payton33.1%Matt Suhey19.7%273752.8%
148OAK1965Clem Daniels34%Art Powell18.8%426652.8%
149PIT1992Barry Foster39.1%Jeff Graham13.7%520252.8%
150SEA2004Shaun Alexander32.1%Darrell Jackson20.6%581052.8%
151GNB1997Dorsey Levens31.1%Antonio Freeman21.7%580552.7%
152KAN2001Priest Holmes36.9%Tony Gonzalez15.8%587152.7%
153NYG1972Ron Johnson35.8%Bob Tucker16.9%455952.7%
154NYJ2002Curtis Martin27.8%Laveranues Coles24.9%523752.7%
155WAS1966Charley Taylor30%Bobby Mitchell22.7%460752.7%
156NYG2003Tiki Barber32.2%Amani Toomer20.4%520152.7%
157DET1998Barry Sanders33.3%Johnnie Morton19.4%535352.7%
158BAL2009Ray Rice35%Derrick Mason17.6%583752.6%
159PHI1968Tom Woodeshick33.8%Ben Hawkins18.8%376852.6%
160SEA2000Ricky Watters37.7%Sean Dawkins14.9%491852.6%
161BAL2011Ray Rice36.8%Anquan Boldin15.8%562552.5%
162TAM1999Warrick Dunn26.4%Mike Alstott26.1%455752.5%
163HOU2012Arian Foster26.6%Andre Johnson25.9%616952.5%
164DEN1971Floyd Little32%Bobby Anderson20.4%433652.4%
165SFO2000Charlie Garner28.9%Terrell Owens23.6%620152.4%
166SEA1983Curt Warner32.6%Steve Largent19.8%543552.4%
167ATL1984Gerald Riggs31.8%Stacey Bailey20.5%554052.4%
168RAM1993Jerome Bettis33.2%Henry Ellard19.1%503552.4%
169RAI1984Marcus Allen34.4%Todd Christensen18%560452.3%
170DEN1973Floyd Little30.1%Joe Dawkins22.2%466052.3%
171STL1979Ottis Anderson35.1%Pat Tilley17.2%545252.3%
172HOU2003Domanick Williams30.8%Andre Johnson21.5%449252.3%
173SFO1995Jerry Rice30.1%Derek Loville22.1%625852.2%
174STL2000Marshall Faulk29.8%Torry Holt22.4%733552.2%
175SEA1992Chris Warren29.4%John Williams22.8%391952.2%
176BAL1977Lydell Mitchell37%Don McCauley15.2%480952.2%
177MIN1964Bill Brown32.7%Tommy Mason19.4%479752.1%
178NYG1936Tuffy Leemans31.3%Kink Richards20.8%272452.1%
179NYY1947Spec Sanders30.6%Buddy Young21.5%472552.1%
180GNB1978Terdell Middleton33.1%James Lofton19%438152%
181CRD1934Doug Russell27.8%Mike Mikulak24.2%146952%
182PHI1996Ricky Watters31.6%Irving Fryar20.3%586152%
183SDG1965Lance Alworth29.1%Paul Lowe22.8%546451.9%
184JAX1998Fred Taylor30.2%Jimmy Smith21.7%544551.9%
185BAL1976Lydell Mitchell31.8%Roger Carr20.1%552451.9%
186PHI1965Timmy Brown29.3%Pete Retzlaff22.6%526651.9%
187GNB1960Jim Taylor29.5%Paul Hornung22.4%414351.9%
188TEN2000Eddie George35.6%Derrick Mason16.2%551451.8%
189CHI2005Thomas Jones34.4%Muhsin Muhammad17.4%430051.8%
190NYG2000Tiki Barber30.7%Amani Toomer21.1%561951.8%
191ARI2000Michael Pittman27.3%David Boston24.5%475651.8%
192PIT2016Le'Veon Bell30.7%Antonio Brown21.1%613751.8%
193SFO1959J.D. Smith33.2%Joe Perry18.6%352451.8%
194MIN2008Adrian Peterson33.9%Bernard Berrian17.8%555551.8%
195GNB2001Ahman Green35.3%Bill Schroeder16.5%561451.7%
196BKN1942Merl Condit34.8%Pug Manders16.9%217951.7%
197CAR2003Stephen Davis30.1%Steve Smith21.6%532951.7%
198DET1991Barry Sanders37.8%Brett Perriman13.8%490451.7%
199DTX1960Abner Haynes29.7%Johnny Robinson21.9%487951.6%
200BAL1958Lenny Moore32.9%Alan Ameche18.7%466451.6%

The last team to have two players account for 60% of their yards was the 2005 Giants.

What stands out to you?

  • I wonder if there is a “sweet spot” in star production. Just off the top of my head, I don’t see much coloration between ranking on this list and total offensive production. There is a solid mix of playoff teams with good offenses and two workhorses that did nearly everything on bad offenses. I wonder if you could craft an ideal ratio of production that leads to a good offense (Like a 30%, 20%, 15%, 10%….ratio among key contributors or something – just thinking out loud)

    • Richie

      My guess is that the ratio doesn’t matter much – as long as the players stay healthy. So that would be interesting to see if high concentration triplets end up having problems for the team, if one of the players misses games late in the season.

      • sacramento gold miners

        I don’t worry about Antonio Brown, but the Steelers would be wise to spell Bell with James Connor more frequently as the season progresses. 30 plus carries a game won’t be sustainable, in my opinion. Bell missed most of the AFC TG last season because of a lingering injury.

      • I was worried about that for the Packers in 2014 when their top trio had just under 70% of their total offensive output – Eddie Lacy (24.6%), Jordy Nelson (23.9%), and Randall Cobb (20.8%). They had a great offense, though I was worried what would happen if they had injuries. Well fast-forward a year and Nelson tears his ACL, Lacy has is “issues”, Cobb plays the whole season hurt, and the offense plummets from 6th to 23rd and 1st to 15th in scoring. They still haven’t figured out a new formula that can work consistently. And that surely won’t happen this year now that Rodgers is gone. Damn…..now I’m sad.

  • I saw the trivia question posted on Twitter. I saw the answer before I could respond, but my initial guess was 1985 Bears — Payton and Gault. Right idea, wrong year.

  • Mike

    Edgerrin James 1999 season was insane. He accounted for 369 carries for 1553 rushing yards while the rest of the Colts RB’s combined for 13 carries and 28 yards. In 2000, he had 387 carries for 1709 yards. The rest of the Colts RB’s combined for 6 carries 12 yards. I don’t think we have ever seen anything like before nor will we see it again.

    • Richie

      ” I don’t think we have ever seen anything like before nor will we see it again.”

      In 1994, Barry Sanders had 1,883 rushing yards. Only one other RB (Derrick Moore, 52 yards) had rushing yards (Eric Lynch had 1 carry for zero yards). So Sanders had 97.3% of the RB rushing yards – which comes up just short of those 2 James seasons.