Two weeks into the 2012 season, Chris Johnson has rushed for 21 more yards than I have.
That’s not good.
On the bright side, Johnson does lead the league in fingers pointed.
If you believe him, his 1.1 yards/carry average isn’t his fault, but his offensive line’s. Yeah, that’s gotta be going over big in the 0-2 Titans locker room.
Hey Chris: valid or not, pointing fingers at the big guys who try to keep other big guys from hitting you is probably not a great move for your physical well-being.
Another popular target for Johnson’s woes is history – specifically, the history of any running back after a 2000-yard season. Apologists for CJ2K point to the fact no runner has ever repeated the feat, which is meant to somehow insinuate the diminished Johnson is just following in the footsteps of the men who preceded him. Well, allow me to do what Johnson claims his linemen aren’t and block that theory.
Take a look how things went for the other five guys who hit 2,000 yards over the remainder of their careers (numbers provided my main man Sudsy Sudell, whose Sud’s Buds of Statistical Wisdom can be read each week at NFL.com/Shek):
1100+ rush yards in the next 3 seasons. Had 12 TD in his 2000-yd season of 1973 and dropped to 4 total TD the next year. He then rebounded with a career-high 23 total TD in 1975.
5 straight seasons with 1200+ rush yards
1491 rush yards the following season, then retired
Never played in more than 8 games in the next three seasons before retiring.
23 total TD in 1998, 4 total TD over the next 3 injury-plagued seasons
1000+ in 4 of next 5 seasons
Let’s expand things by reviewing three of the other all-time great single seasons for runners:
1934 rush yards in 1980.
1300+ in 2 of the next 3 seasons
Had 1883 rush yards in 2003 with 20 total TD
1000+ rush yards in 2 of the next 3 seasons
Injuries basically wiped out the next 3 seasons
Maybe closest comparison in terms of massive decline…
1880 rush yards and 28 total TD in MVP season of 2005
2006: 896 rush yards 7 TD in 10 games
2007: 716 rush yards 5 total TD in 13 games
2008: 24 rush yards 0 TD in 4 games
2009: Out of league
…but remember: he was injured.
Conclusion: while it’s true no one ever got back to 2000 yards in a season, all the other runners – the injured Davis and Alexander excluded – didn’t suffer the same level of dropoff Johnson has. In other words, Chris, next time you want to point a finger at somebody, point it at the man in the mirror… then take your linemen out for a nice steak.