With most eyes fixated on Mitch Trubisky’s development and others distracted by Tarik Cohen’s Superman leaps, it’s easy for Bears fans to overlook the numbers Jordan Howard is quietly accumulating.
Hampered by a shoulder injury to start the season, the Pro Bowl rookie running back from a year ago started slowly with games of 52 and seven yards. But since his career-low output in Week 2, Howard has been battering NFL defenses. He has added four more 100-yard games to his resume, giving him 11 during his 25-game career. Howard’s 841 yards puts him third in the NFL behind LeVeon Bell (886) and Kareem Hunt (873). Ezekiel Elliott has 783 yards after a league-leading 1,631 as a rookie last season.
But check out how Howard’s two-season numbers compare historically to Bears and NFL greats.
With 125 yards rushing against Detroit on Sunday, Howard has 2,154 yards in his first two seasons with six games still remaining. He needs just 14 yards to surpass Matt Forte for the best two-season start in team history. All the more impressive considering the fifth-round draft pick didn’t start the first four games of his rookie season. (Remember Jeremy Langford?)
As far as overall yards from scrimmage, Howard tied Forte and Gale Sayers for taking the fewest games (25) to reach 2,500.
If Howard continues at this pace, he will have 2,658 rushing yards by the end of his second season. The only running backs in the Super Bowl era to have more in their first two seasons are Edgerrin James (3,262), Chris Johnson (3,234), Earl Campbell (3,147), Adrian Peterson (3,101), Clinton Portis (3,099), Ottis Anderson (2,957), LaDainian Tomlinson (2,919), Eric Dickerson (2,913), Alfred Morris (2,888) Barry Sanders (2,774) and Jamal Lewis (2,691).
Notice that Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, the top two rushers of all-time, are not on that list.
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