The defense overall has been playing out of their minds, and lightyears ahead of where we were last season, or even at the beginning of this season. One thing that has caught my eye though is our run defense, and the fact that for whatever reason, we have been pretty fortunate playing the opposing teams leading rusher.
Like I said we have come a long way from the beginning of the season, but for the context of this post I will only focus on this season. Keep in mind also I am not accounting any receptions or receiving yards by these RBs I am just looking at rushing yards, so if you want to look at TOTAL yards given up to RBs you actually need to add some more onto these numbers.
Week 3 for me is where it starts getting interesting...
Week 3 vs Tennessee: We play Tennessee who have CJ2K, but the important thing to remember is when we played them week 3 he had just come from not only having no offseason due to the lockout, but he held out of what little training camp there was because of a contract dispute with the front office. With that being said we hold him to 21 yards, and hold Javon Ringer to -6 yards. Total rushing yards allowed 15
I want to point out however that getting Chris Johnson so early in the season was the most opportune time to play him, and I am sure that nobody here would actually think that we would hold them to only 15 positive yards of rushing over an entire game if we were to play CJ and the Titans this week, especially considering in 3 of his last 5 weeks he hasn't gone under 130 yards rushing, by himself, let alone with Ringer adding to that total.
Week 4 vs Green Bay: I think we all remember this beat down, we held James Starks to 63 yards total and John Kuhn to 3 yards. Total rushing yards allowed 66.
The rushing yards don't tell the whole story though as Aaron Rodgers absolutely torched us and I believe he even ran for a touchdown or 2 (although IIRC they were all from very close). They also had a pick-6 adding to their tally. The fact remains because of what was working for them, they had no need to even try to run the ball, their short passes served as a substitute for the run after they gashed us early and often with the deeper throws. I don't think this game can be seen as a game to evaluate our run defense.
Week 5 vs SD: We finally play a team with a healthy running back and one that is in game condition for the first time since week 1. What happens? We give up 125 yards to Ryan Mathews 24 to Mike Tolbert, and 47 to Jacob Hester. Total rushing yards allowed: 196 (Like I said i am only looking at rushing yards, and if we look at receiving yards accumulated by these RBs i wouldnt be surprised to see the number of total yards well over 200 and into the 230-240 range)
Week 6 is our BYE (goodbye Orton)
Week 7 vs Mia: Played against Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas (either of those names keeping you up at night? didnt think so). Reggie has been playing better as of late, and our Run D actually does a really good job keeping them in check. We hold Bush to 42 yards and Daniel Thomas to 53 yards. Total rushing yards allowed: 65
Week 8 vs Detroit: Once again a massacre, but in terms of rushing, the Lions did not have their top rusher in Jahvid Best, or Kevin Smith, and they use their TE Pettigrew in those short swing pases as their running game. Overall we did well in the running game holding Maurice Morris to 58 yards rushing and Keiland Williams to 25 but just like the Green Bay game, there was no need for them to even try and run the ball. Total rushing yards allowed: 63.
Week 9 vs Oakland: No McFadden, only 96 yards given up to Michael Bush
Weel 11 vs NYJ: LT gets injured early, As does Shonne Greene after 10 yards, and we're left to deal with the juggernaut RB that is Joe McKnight (sarcasm) Total yards allowed: 69
Week 12 vs SD: Once again with injuries to the top RBs from weeks 8-11, we only had to play the backups and really nobody that an NFL defense shouldnt be able to stop. With SD back on the schedule we finally play a team that will run the ball, and has the means to do so in regards to healthy running backs. What happens? We give up a 137 to Mathews, a career high for him might I add, and 44 yards to Tolbert. Total yards allowed: 181
Week 13 vs Minn: No Adrian Peterson, Gerhart runs for 91
Week 14 vs Chi: No Forte, Marion Barber runs for 108 Khalil Bell for 40. Total yards allowed 148
IMO we have been extremely fortunate to get the RB matchups that we have (CJ2k early on, no AP, no McFadden, no Forte, no LT/Greene, no Jamaal Charles, no Jahvid Best) Going ahead we will play NE who uses the TE as their run game for the most part, Buf, once again without top rusher Fred Jackson and KC without Charles.
We will go an entire season without playing some of the top RBs in the game, even though we will play their respective teams. I find that crazy I don't believe our running game has truly been tested, and when we have been I havent been overly impressed. (Chicago, 2 games vs SD).
I would still want to shore up that Defensive front early in the draft and get a run stuffer up front, but am I wrong for seeing our run D the way I am? I think our success against the run has been more fortune than anything else