The guys at Pro Football Focus came up with another interesting study, this time determining the “Elusive Rating” for running backs.
Per usual, they developed a formula, taking into yards after contact and forced missed tackles, which basically means that a defender blew a chance to make a routine play.
They note that Tennessee’s Chris Johnson, who topped 2,000 rushing yards, also notched 1,071 of those rushing yards after contact. As remarkable as that is, Johnson isn’t rated by PFF as the league’s most elusive.
Justin Forsett of the Seattle Seahawks was No. 1 with a rating of 70.19. Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart was second with a rating of 67.66, followed by Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints), Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills) and Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins).
Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson was ninth.
How did the Bears backs do?
Matt Forte was 32nd, with a rating of 24.67. And Chester Taylor was rated dead last (or 63rd) of the qualifying players with a rating of 8.03.
Here is PFF’s breakdown of the Vikings’ duo of Peterson and Taylor in 2009.
“The load-sharing dynamic in the Vikings’ backfield last season was an interesting one, with Peterson doing much of the dirty work, and Chester Taylor being responsible largely for the third-down duties, in part because of his ability as a pass receiver and his shifty nature after the catch,” Sam Monson of PFF wrote. “It might surprise some (it certainly surprised us) to see Taylor rank dead last of all runners who qualified in Elusive Rating, with a score of just 8.03.
“By contrast, Peterson was able to fight his way to a score of 48.60, good enough for ninth overall. Perhaps the inability of Taylor to get any more than was available factored into Minnesota’s decision to allow him to leave in free agency, and their aggressive trade up in the draft to secure Toby Gerhart, whose game tape is all about gaining more yards than should feasibly be there.”