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  1. #1
    coy bacon Guest

    The Running Plays Myth

    Building upon Mr. Balzer's comments found in the thread entitled: "Balzer comments from Sirius Radio"

    I believe that for many years, experts, analysts, and gits, have said that if Running Back (RB) so and so gets XX amount of carries per game, then that team wins YY% of the time, with YY usually being about 80. The implication, or outright conclusion, behind this is that in order for the team to win, their RB must carry the ball so many times.

    Aristotle weeps.

    I've always felt a bit troubled by such statements, as if its an ace magic formulae for winning football games. Codswallop! Not bloody likely I say! It's another example of easy to swallow inferior analysis.

    Some things Balzer said that are dead on:

    "As I've noted before, if you're getting stuffed for losses on first down, it's tough to keep running."

    and

    "These are typical stats that don't look at the big picture. Why did Jackson get the ball so much in the fourth quarter? Because the Rams had the lead."

    and

    "In most of the games the Rams lost, they fell behind, and often by a lot, which meant they weren't going to run the ball. In those games, Jackson was often stuffed consistently and that led to more passing. When he would get minus 2 yards on first down, passes followed. When he was stopped on 3rd and 1, that turned the ball over to the defense, which kept the chains from moving and fewer offensive plays."


    The point should be obvious: a running game that is ineffective against a particular team should not be used indefinately, especially when they're behind. Isn't it possible that teams with exquisite passing games gain early leads and then run the ball to eat up the clock? But, the dim only look at the stats, and see that the team won, and did a lot of running... therefore run the ball to win is the key!

    Bollocks I say to the formulae of amt. of runs per game equates to wins. Its an uncorrelated relationship.

    If you want to win football games, do what you need to do, to score the most points (duh). That includes runs, or passes, or both, that work. If a D is stacking the line with 8 men 75% of the time the coach better be calling passes.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: The Running Plays Myth

    Coy, I and many others appreciate your message, but there are several pairs of deaf airs receiving it. Many before have tried to explain this point, many will in the future, but I'm afraid there are a lot who will live with the (as you put it) codswallop that running the ball X number of times guarantees a win.

    My personal favorite is the stand-by, "the Rams are 22-0 when Faulk runs the ball 20 times", or something like that (anyone willing to look up the actual stat is more than welcome). It's a precious few that see beyond that one line.

    But thanks for the effort.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: The Running Plays Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    My personal favorite is the stand-by, "the Rams are 22-0 when Faulk runs the ball 20 times", or something like that (anyone willing to look up the actual stat is more than welcome). It's a precious few that see beyond that one line.
    Wouldn't it be great if number of carries was a true factor of winning games? We could start every game by forgetting about the pass, calling the prescribed number of running plays, and guarantee the win.

  4. #4
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    Re: The Running Plays Myth

    Its stupid to think like that because you can't formulate an equation of a football game. Its a sport, sports are played by athletes, and athletes have talent. There's a reason why Bulger is starting and not Fitzpatrick. So you could basically say for example like someone was saying before "wouldn't it be great if you could run the ball x amount of times and win." Well thats lovely and all, but would you put in Faulk instead of Jackson at this point in time? Faulk is not as good as he was, and neither is the blocking if I may ad... but in the end, its the guy who is better who is going to get the ball. We clearly didn't have a good running game last year, and its not all Jackson's fault, its a # of things that made it weak last year. I hate hearing this stuff because its absolutely ridiculous. Its talent and its heart that wins a game, not a math formula. Who would of thought that the Steelers were going to win the superbowl last year? People were thinking Colts go 16-0 and win the SB last year. That clearly didn't happen. Anything can go wrong for your team, injuries can't be placed as variables in an equation! Ok, I think you guys will get the jist of my rant, so I'll stop now.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  5. #5
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Re: The Running Plays Myth

    Certain teams have a great run-stopping D. Other teams have a great pass prevention defense. A few teams have a good balance of both.
    Personally, I would not continue 'beating a dead horse' by trying to run against a defense that has stuffed the run contiuously. Same with the pass. Isn't this how the west coast offense came about? The short, quick passes are (or were) effective against a lot of defenses.
    The other factor in all of this is not mentioned much: The offensive line. Some O-lines can block for the RB, some for the QB, but when a QB is going to light up the field, the RB will usually be in there blocking for him.

    Look at the individual game stats, I think you will find that the games with 100 + rushing yards are also the games where we had a heck of a lot of passing yards. I'd be willing to bet that the passing yards were mostly gained in the first half, and the rushing in the second half.

    Believe the "balance equation" if you want to. I can state that the Rams won more games when I drank beer, and won less when I drank Coke. So, instead of worrying about the rushing yardage, get some beer, relax, and enjoy the game.

  6. #6
    RebelYell's Avatar
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    Re: The Running Plays Myth

    There is also the group of people who think a RB should carry the ball 25x per game regardless. That's all well and good but only 1-2 RBs per year carry that ball that much. They always seem to miss that point.

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