2011 NFL Season: Could We Finally See a 300-Yard Rushing Game in 2011?

Joel Aubin Contributor IMay 25, 2011

NFL running backs Arian Foster(Houston Texans) and Jamaal Charles(Kansas City Chiefs) certaintly have the potential to set records, could a 300 yard rushing game in 2011 be one of them?
NFL running backs Arian Foster(Houston Texans) and Jamaal Charles(Kansas City Chiefs) certaintly have the potential to set records, could a 300 yard rushing game in 2011 be one of them?Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In the NFL, new records are being set every season.

One record that has yet to be broken remains year after year. That’s the 300-yard rushing game.

Only two NFL running backs to date have even come close to 300 yards. Former Ravens and Browns running back Jamal Lewis and the Minnesota Vikings' do-it-all workhorse Adrian Peterson both did it.

Lewis had his chance at 300 back in September of 2003 when he rushed for 295 yards against a lousy Cleveland Browns team.

He had 30 carries on the day for a startling 9.8 yards per trot.

The craziest part about the whole thing was Lewis actually somewhat predicted breaking the record to then-teammate Andra Davis earlier that week.

He shattered the NFL's previous record of 278 yards set by Corey Dillon, and would have easily reached beyond the 300 mark if it wasn't for a holding penalty that negated a 60-yard touchdown run.

Bottom line is this: Jamal Lewis and his teammates wanted 300 yards, but despite an impressive team effort in the end they came up short. 

In the case of Adrian Peterson though, it was a whole different story.

Peterson and the Vikings flirted with 300 yards in November of 2007 in a game against a tough San Diego run defense.

Peterson had 30 carries at 9.9 yards per carry and galloped his way with long runs into the NFL record book totaling 296 yards, breaking Lewis' single game rushing record by a single yard.   

The record was broken on a routine three yard run with under 60 seconds left to play and Minnesota leading 35-17.

With a commanding lead and the game pretty much sealed up, you would think the Vikings would have handed the ball off to Peterson on the very next play, allowing the clock to continue running and Peterson to amass 300 yards.

Unfortunately for us NFL fans that enjoy a record setting day, that never happened.

Instead, the Vikings did the unthinkable by letting the clock run out, depriving Peterson of the carry that would have made him a legend forever.

Whether head coach Brad Childress made the final decision not to hand it off, or Adrian Peterson didn't ask for the ball, we'll never really know, but whoever it was, I think they owe NFL fans at least four yards.  

 I mean, we were finally about to see a 300-yard rushing game for the first time in NFL history, and suddenly the team grows a conscience after already demoralizing San Diego's defense on the ground all game long.

Last time I checked, nowhere in the NFL rules handbook does it state that you can’t or shouldn't go for a record when you have the lead late in a game. Instead, it’s just unofficially frowned upon.

But those unwritten rules need not always apply, especially in a situation when you’re on the verge of greatness and all you need is one measly carry to get it done.

I'm not saying 296 yards isn't an amazing accomplishment. I'm simply stating that 300 yards just has a better ring to it. 

In the past three seasons since Adrian Peterson's miraculous day, we have seen exactly eleven 200-plus yard performances, seven of them coming in 2009, but none totaling more than 286 yards.

Jerome Harrison (CLE, 2009): 34 car, 286 yds, 8.4 ypc

Jamaal Charles (K.C, 2009): 25 car, 259 yds, 10.4 ypc  

Arian Foster (HOU, 2010): 33 car, 231 yds, 7.0 ypc

Chris Johnson (TEN, 2009): 24 car, 228 yds, 9.5 ypc

Michael Turner (ATL, 2008): 22 car, 220 yds, 10.0 ypc / 25 car, 208 yds, 8.3 ypc

Derrick Ward (NYG, 2008): 15 car, 215 yds, 14.3 ypc

Fred Jackson (BUF, 2009): 33 car, 212 yds, 6.4 ypc

Thomas Jones (NYJ, 2009): 22 car, 210 yds, 9.5 ypc 

Frank Gore (SF, 2009): 16 car, 207 yds, 12.9 ypc

Jonathan Stewart (CAR, 2009): 28 car, 206 yds, 7.4 ypc

There are some you might expect, but there are clearly a few surprises on the list which shows just how unpredictable the NFL really is.

With so much phenomenal new talent coming into the league each year, and the possibility that almost any running back can blow up a defense on any given day, I wonder just how soon we will have a chance to see another runner approach, or maybe even eclipse, 300 yards.

Could 2011 finally be the year?

Only time will tell, but those of us who love seeing these incredible records being set will be keeping our fingers crossed.