The Top 10 NFL Runs of 2012

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2012

The Top 10 NFL Runs of 2012

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    What do the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson, the Kansas City Chiefs' Jamaal Charles and several other NFL running backs share in common? They all registered one or more of the top 10 NFL runs in the 2012 NFL season. 

    In what is progressively becoming a passing-oriented league, narrowing down the NFL's best runs over the course of the season is no easy task. 

    This slideshow will attempt to round up the absolute best runs that occurred this year, which are measured by length, whether it was a scoring run, ball carrier vision and broken tackles. 

    Not every fantastic run could make the cut, but with one week left to go before the playoffs start, these 10 runs are the absolute best when reviewing the entire season. Let's take a look. 

10. RG3 76-Yard Touchdown

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    Starting off the list is not a ironically not a running back, but Washington Redskins' rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. 

    In Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, the Redskins were holding on to a slim lead in the fourth quarter when RG3 pulled the ball down and scampered for a 76-yard touchdown.

    Why is this one of the top runs of 2012? Not only was Griffin coming back from a concussion he suffered the week before, he properly read the defense and his blockers before breaking into a sprint that put the game away. 

    This is but one Griffin highlight from a highly successful rookie campaign, and it is also one of the best runs this season. 

9. Adrian Peterson 74-Yard Run

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    In Week 9 Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings traveled to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. The end result would be a Minnesota loss, but not before Peterson provided one of the highlight runs of the year. 

    Early in the first quarter of the contest, Peterson took a routine hand off to the right side and was almost taken down in the backfield. Thanks to a combination of elite strength, vision and speed, Peterson wound up down at the 1-yard line 74 yards later. 

    Peterson would end up scoring a touchdown a few plays later. 

    What makes this run so special is Peterson's jaw-dropping amount of skills on display, especially for a player coming off a serious injury. This certainly is not the last of Peterson on this list. 

8. Darren Mcfadden 64-Yard Touchdown

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    When Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is actually on the field, he is one of the best in the business. 

    Case in point—Week 3 when the Raiders welcomed the Pittsburgh Steelers to town. McFadden went off for 113 yards on just 18 attempts, including an impressive 64-yard touchdown run. 

    McFadden ripped the touchdown run against one of the NFL's elite defenses. Great blocking got him to the second level, where he made a wicked move to get around another defender before turning on the afterburners to reach the end zone. 

    Oakland would upset the Steelers, in large part thanks to McFadden's awesome display. If McFadden were consistently healthy, he would pop up on lists such as these much more often. 

7. Frank Gore 23-Yard Touchdown

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    In the opening week of the 2012 NFL season, it became quite apparent that Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers was going to have quite a year. 

    Gore impressively rumbled for 112 yards on just 16 attempts, but none more outstanding than his 23-yard touchdown scamper that put the nail in the Green Bay Packers' coffin. 

    With his team already up 23-15, Gore received an outstanding lead block before bullying two Green Bay defenders as he crossed the plane for the touchdown. 

    Not only was this one of the more impressive runs of the season, it happened in Week 1 and set the tone for the 49ers' entire season. 

6. Trent Richardson 26-Yard Touchdown

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    Not one person following the NFL was surprised when the Cleveland Browns made Trent Richardson the No. 3 overall pick in last year's draft. After all, Richardson was the surest thing to enter the NFL at the position in quite some time. 

    That being said, not one person could have predicted Richardson would be one of the NFL's best after only a few games. 

    Richardson more than solidified this status before he and the Browns took on the San Diego Chargers in Week 8—but his insane performance certainly did not hurt. 

    The rookie would amass 122 yards total, 26 of those came on one of the best runs of the year. In the first quarter Richardson took a hand off and was immediately swallowed up, only to navigate the mass of bodies around him en route to the end zone. 

    If being a rookie was not enough, Richardson's elite vision and skill displayed here are more than enough to land him on this list as a rookie. 

5. Chris Johnson 94-Yard Touchdown

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    Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson would record the league's longest run of the 2012 season in Week 15 against the New York Jets.

    Johnson took the ball deep in the Titans own territory and just barely slip through the hole his offensive line provided for him. 

    From there, no one was going to catch Johnson. 

    The end result was a 94-yard touchdown run and a nostalgic moment for CJ2K fans everywhere. It is not often fans get to see Johnson turn in an amazing performance anymore, but this one was good enough to make the list. 

4. Jamaal Charles 37-Yard Touchdown

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    Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles has a habit of making something out of nothing often, as evidenced by his 37-yard touchdown run against the San Diego Chargers in Week 4. 

    In this instance, Charles took a pitch from Matt Cassel and immediately witnessed his offensive line get abused at the point of attack. 

    Charles widely cut back, received a crucial block from Cassel, and turned on the burners to reach the end zone. 

    Kansas City would go on to lose by 17, but Charles provided NFL fans everywhere with one of the top runs of 2012. 

3. Chris Ivory 56-Yard Touchdown

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    Week 10 saw the 2012 NFL season's most physical run courtesy of Chris Ivory of the New Orleans Saints. 

    The Saints found themselves in a 10-0 hole early in the first quarter when Ivory decided to take the game over in a physical manner. Ivory took a simplistic hand off from Drew Brees and turned it up field, shoving his way past defenders until he scored 56 yards later. 

    Thanks to Ivory's run, the Saints were jump-started and went on to win 31-27. 

    The run came at a period when Ivory was upset with the organization for seemingly being lost on a depth chart full of talented backs. 

    Not only did Ivory send an emphatic message to his coaches, he sent a message to the entire league as he was a major factor in the Saints taking down of the the NFL's best teams. 

2. Adrian Peterson 82-Yard Touchdown

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    The Minnesota Vikings would inflict a serious beat down on the St. Louis Rams in Week 15, with the main culprit being running back Adrian Peterson (who else?). 

    Peterson would gain a ridiculous 212 yards on the ground. With the game tied in the second quarter, Peterson would bust up the middle, make a ridiculous cut behind his blockers and sprint the rest of the way for an 82-yard score. 

    The amazing run from the NFL's best back was but one score of a 23-point outburst that St. Louis would never overcome. 

    Without a doubt, Peterson is the NFL's best at the position, and very well may be the MVP. The above run is mind-boggling, but only one example of just how great Peterson has become. 

1. Jamaal Charles 91-Yard Touchdown

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    The Kansas City Chiefs may be the worst team in the NFL, but they certainly do not lack for explosive talent at the running back position. 

    The organization has Jamaal Charles to thank for that. 

    Only a year removed from a serious injury, many fans were questioning whether Charles would ever be the same again. 

    Charles answered that question emphatically in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints with a 233-yard performance. The highlight came of his outing came in the third quarter when he busted through the defense and out ran anyone and everyone for a 91-yard touchdown. 

    It is the most impressive run of the year for a few reasons. For one, Charles followed his blockers beautifully after evading what appeared to be a tackle after only a few yards. His ability to then slip past another tackle and sprint down the field is remarkable. 

    Charles quietly had an amazing individual year. He also was able to record the best run of the 2012 NFL season.