Longtime reader Eddy Elfenbein wrote me last night about the continuing demise of running in the NFL. From his own site:
The season is still young so this trend may not last, but with two weeks on the books, the number of rushes-per-game is down 4.8% from last year.
But what’s really dramatic is that average yards-per-carry is down by 10.7% (from 4.262 to 3.805).
Combine the two effects, fewer runs going not as far, and the rushing-yards-per-game figure is down 15% from last year. That number has been fairly steady for the last 25 years.
On the passing side, attempts are up 7.8%, completions are up 10.0% and passing yards are up 10.5%. The league-wide passer rating now stands 87.3. In 1994, that would have qualified as fourth-best in the league.
I'm surprised league-wise rushing yards per carry is so low. I don't recall anything below 4.1 YPC, even this early in the season. Aside from that, everything else is part of a continuing trend--something game theory predicts will continue.