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Why do you need to run the ball when you have this guy?

Why do you need to run the ball when you have this guy?

The Packers have gone 43 consecutive regular season games without having a 100-yard rusher. Not coincidentally, Green Bay drafted Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin in the draft last weekend, hoping that one of those players can bolster the team’s rushing attack.

Brandon Jackson rushed for 115 yards in an overtime loss against the Redskins on October 10, 2010. How long ago was that? Washington’s quarterback that day was Donovan McNabb. Two months later, Jackson rushed for 99 yards in a loss in Foxboro, and Ryan Grant had 92 rushing yards in a September victory in Chicago in 2011, but no Packer has hit the century mark in a regular season game since October 10th, 2010. (It’s worth noting that James Starks rushed for 123 yards in a playoff victory against the Eagles in the 2010 playoffs, but NFL game streaks routinely exclude postseason performances.)

The table below lists all teams since 1960 to go at least 32 games without a 100-yard rusher. Here’s how the second row of the table reads: The Washington Redskins went 72 games without a 100-yard rusher. The team’s last 100-yard rusher came in a game on December 17, 1961, and the streak finally ended on September 24, 1967. The player to break the streak was Bobby Mitchell, and you can see the boxscore from that game in the final column.

TeamStreakLast GameStreak EndedPlayerBoxscore
was7212/17/196110/01/1967Bobby MitchellBoxscore
cle6911/27/198809/19/1993Tommy VardellBoxscore
cin6712/20/199209/21/1997Ki-Jana CarterBoxscore
kan5412/20/198112/08/1985Mike PruittBoxscore
atl5010/30/196610/04/1970Cannonball ButlerBoxscore
nyg4811/17/196310/01/1967Ernie KoyBoxscore
den45Expansion10/06/1963Donnie StoneBoxscore
cin4310/21/197310/31/1976Boobie ClarkBoxscore
det4310/12/198609/24/1989Barry SandersBoxscore
kan4309/28/199212/24/1994Marcus AllenBoxscore
nor4311/28/197112/08/1974Alvin MaxsonBoxscore
phi4312/21/196909/23/1973Tom SullivanBoxscore
nyg4210/01/196710/11/1970Ron A. JohnsonBoxscore
gnb4012/17/198911/01/1992Vince WorkmanBoxscore
chi3812/16/196211/28/1965Gale SayersBoxscore
den3811/14/196510/27/1968Floyd LittleBoxscore
sdg3812/15/197511/05/1978Lydell MitchellBoxscore
buf3710/16/196609/28/1969O.J. SimpsonBoxscore
crd3710/24/200412/03/2006Edgerrin JamesBoxscore
atl3610/16/198812/02/1990Mike RozierBoxscore
den3610/26/198009/25/1983Sammy WinderBoxscore
mia3610/14/198411/24/1986Lorenzo HamptonBoxscore
ram3610/02/199411/10/1996Harold GreenBoxscore
cle3412/17/199509/23/2001James JacksonBoxscore
phi3412/27/198709/23/1990Anthony ToneyBoxscore
tam34Expansion10/15/1978Jimmy DuBoseBoxscore
phi3311/25/197309/27/1976Mike HoganBoxscore
det3212/15/197310/10/1976Horace KingBoxscore
phi3212/19/198212/09/1984Wilbert MontgomeryBoxscore
sfo3211/28/199412/02/1996Terry KirbyBoxscore

Yes, Barry Sanders went to a team that hadn’t had a 100-yard rusher in 41 straight games. That changed pretty quickly. And if you think this post was a thinly veiled reason to use Cannonball Butler in a post, you’d be right. Junior Coffey became the first player to rush for 100 yards for the expansion Falcons in 1966, but no other Atlanta runner hit the century mark for four more years.

  • Marko Markovic

    I think, while the streak is of course impressive because it is limited to 100-yard rushers (as opposed to games with less than 100 yards rushing), we can easily see that GB does not have any special history when you look at team rushing yarsd: From 2008, Rodger’s first starting season, til 2012 GB has had 37 games without 100 yards ruhsing, tied for 9th in the league. They are, for instance tied with Atlanta and Tennessee over that span, both of whom were for most of that timeframe considered run heavy teams.

    So, while they’re lack of quality running games might not be special per se, their success despite it is: Only Indianapolis, Atlanta and GB post a wining record in those games over the last five years, and two more wins would push Rodgers on top.

  • Richie

    I was surprised the Dolphins didn’t appear higher on this list. But I think they would appear near the top in streaks without a 1,000-yard season rusher.

  • arayeph

    Not very good for the Pack’s Super Bowl hopes this year. It looks like no teams were able to climb out of this and return to the Super Bowl with a win after the first year. The 94′ 49ers are a good example of not being able to repeat. The 2008 Cardinals managed a visit in to the Super Bowl in 2008 but it wasn’t after almost 2 years passed from when the drought was broken in 2006.