NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Ranking The Top Running Back Performances
I feel like, deep down, everyone missed this guy this week.
Adrian Peterson is usually reliable for some exciting plays and some big numbers at the end of every week. However, with Minnesota on the bye this past week, NFL fans have had to find AP-esque entertainment in other running backs,
Boy were they lucky.
While the numbers put up by the NFL's running backs this weekend won't jump out at you immediately, they certainly are deceptive.
There were long runs, game winning touchdowns, and career-reviving performances.
And the irony behind this? It's been going on all year. When the best don't step up, others do.
So, without further delay, here are the top running back performers in Week 5
1. Arian Foster
While Foster can be lacking in consistency on occasion, there is no doubt that he is the best runner in the League right now.
He his a lot of things working for him, but the biggest ones are his ability to bounce back after a tough game (see their game at Washington), and his ability to play big against good run defenses (106 yards against the Dallas Cowboys).
Oh yeah, and did I mention that he not only had 131 yards and one touchdown on the ground, but 56 yards and one touchdown in the air? Now that's balance.
Foster is a matchup nightmare for any team that he goes up against, considering he is averaging a whopping 6.3 yards per carry right now, and has proven that he is a more than capable receiver as well.
Foster is a deadly weapon, and has kept this team going when Matt Schaub couldn't.
The Texans have two weeks until their bye, and both teams (Kansas City and the New York Giants) give Foster more opportunities to assert his dominance before getting a well deserved mid-season rest.
2. LaDainian Tomlinson
A lot of San Diego Chargers fans spent a good portion of this weekend wondering whether or not AJ Smith made the right choice in letting the great LT go this past off season.
Why? Possibly because of his 19 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills.
There is some validity to arguing the strength of competition and the supporting cast, but this is honestly just the continuation of a building trend.
Perhaps there is some life in those legs yet.
3. Ahmad Bradshaw
By now, everyone in New York is quickly erasing Brandon Jacobs from their memory.
Bradshaw racked up an impressive 129 yards and one touchdown (coupled with one fumble) in the Giants win over the Bears on Sunday night.
The best part: the Bears are ranked as the number six defense against the run even after this thrashing.
Bradshaw was doing something right.
He came to play when the Giants were struggling early in the game, and he rode the momentum from the Giants defense to a very respectable game.
4. Mike Tolbert
Mike Tolbert is still the kind of guy that people scratch their heads over when they hear his name and they wonder, "Who is this guy?"
Well, so far this season, Tolbert is crashing his way into the national spotlight with his brutally physical style of running that has earned him a multitude of nicknames all associating him with a human bowling ball.
After a tough game last week against Seattle, Tolbert put together an impressive performance while rookie Ryan Matthews was being worked back into the starting lineup.
Tolbert had 16 carries for 100 yards and one touchdown. He picked up big chunks of yardage, but also grabbed the tough short yardage as well.
Tolbert should be a player to keep your eye on for the rest of the season.
5. Peyton Hillis
There are a lot of Broncos fans wondering why the team gave up Peyton Hillis right now.
Since being shipped from Denver to Cleveland, Hillis has been integral to the success of the Cleveland Browns.
Through four games, Hillis has put up 322 yards on 66 carries with four touchdowns.
And he's consistent, averaging 4.4, 4.6, 6.5, and 3.8 yards per carry in each of his games.
If the Browns win more games this season, it will be because of the success of Peyton Hillis (along with Jerome Harrison).
6. Maurice Jones-Drew
It's easy to lose sight of individual player performance when a team like Jacksonville knocks off a rival in such a heroic fashion.
However, with Maurice Jones-Drew, individual play cannot be overlooked.
Jones-Drew was integral to the success of the Jaguars, putting up both a rushing and a receiving touchdown, and averaging a comfortable 4.0 yards per carry.
While Josh Scobee certainly deserves a lot of praise for his game winning field goal, the Jaguars have to recognize that Maurice Jones-Drew is their MVP for that game, because it would not have even been close had it not been for him.
7. DeAngelo Williams
When your quarterback is playing as badly as Jimmy Clausen is, any source of offense is a good thing.
DeAngelo Williams' 86 yards and one touchdown represent one third of the Panthers' total yards and half of their points.
Williams was the only person keeping the Panthers offensively competitive in this game.
8. Steven Jackson
While Sam Bradford didn't have a bad game, Steven Jackson was clearly keeping the Rams going during their blowout win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Jackson put up 70 yards on 22 carries, which is not overly impressive, until you consider that he is mostly called on to pick up hard yardage.
That and Sam Bradford seemed to like throwing the ball to him. Jackson caught the ball three times for 54 yards. Very impressive.
Oh yeah, and did anyone remember that Jackson was dealing with a groin injury through this game?
He didn't seem that hurt to me.
9. Joseph Addai
I'm fairly sure that everyone recognizes that Peyton Manning is the leader of the Indianapolis Colts, and there is no question about that.
It's why the Colts were ranked 32nd in the League in rushing last year.
However, against the Jaguars, Joseph Addai certainly made a statement as to why he is still relevant.
63 yards isn't an impressive total, but in a game where the Colts only scored four touchdowns, Addai's two seem very, very impressive.
10. Danny Woodhead
I think it's time to give this kid the recognition that he deserves.
He was cut from the Jets after more or less being told that they were going in a different direction, and was (smartly) picked up by the New England Patriots.
While his numbers won't grab the attention of a lot of people, his play will. He averaged 8.0 yards per carry on Monday night against the Miami Dolphins, and he coupled that with an 11-yard touchdown reception.
Woodhead is a great situational back, using his great shiftiness and deceptive speed to work his way through small spaces for big gains.
The unfortunate thing is that there is so much talent around him in New England that he may be drowned out by the tidal waves of greatness spewing from the rest of the offense.
The Best Of The Rest
1. Darren McFadden: Considering the state of the Oakland Raiders, McFadden is doing fairly well. He is keeping this offense competitive.
2. Rashard Mendenhall: His numbers weren't great, but he scored the go ahead touchdown. It was too bad that the Steelers couldn't hold on to that lead.
3. Jahvid Best: Best would be putting up much bigger numbers if he had a team around him.
4. Derrick Ward: 12 carries for 80 yards and one touchdown? Not bad for a backup.
5. Chris Ivory: Despite fumbling the ball, Ivory was 12 carries for 67 yards, which is impressive for an undrafted rookie free agent who has all of a sudden found himself in the starting spot.
6. Shonn Greene: Despite playing second fiddle to LaDainian Tomlinson, Greene had an impressive 117 yards on the day.
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