NFL running backs tracker: Colts RB Jonathan Taylor sets franchise record in win
Introducing the running backs tracker!
Interested to know the best running back achievements each week? Want insight into why your favorite RB underperformed This is your place. USA TODAY Sports+ NFL Insider Tyler Dragon will provide a weekly breakdown of the running back position.
Jonathan Taylor makes history
Jonathan Taylor inserted his name into the Indianapolis Colts’ record books. The Colts running back dashed through a hole to the left and ran 83 yards down the field. Taylor’s 83-yard gain set a franchise record for the longest run team history. It’s also the longest run on the season thus far.
The Colts RB registered 145 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-3 win over the Houston Texans. His 145 yard was a Week 6 high.
Vikings reach .500 behind Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook seems to be settling in. The Minnesota Vikings running back was too much to handle for the Carolina Panthers. Cook rushed 29 times for a season-high 140 yards and a touchdown in the win.
Derrick Henry runs over Buffalo
Derrick Henry is a mainstay on this running backs tracker. He put together another terrific performance on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills. Henry ran through and by the Bills on the way to 143 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-31 win.
Monday was Henry's fifth consecutive 100-yard game. The Titans running back is well on his way to a third straight rushing title.
Washington Football Team struggles
The Washington Football Team couldn’t get anything going offensively, and the run game surely wasn’t working.
Antonio Gibson had a positive 15-yard gain, but he didn’t see much daylight or opportunity all game with the score out of reach. Gibson also lost a fumble in the 31-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
NFL rushing leaders
1. Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry -- 783 rushing yards
2. Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb -- 523 rushing yards
3. Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott -- 521 rushing yards
4. Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon -- 480 rushing yards
5. Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor -- 472 rushing yards
Derrick Henry rumbles for 130 yards and three TDs
Another week, another 100-yard rushing performance by Derrick Henry.
Henry tallied 130 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s 37-19 win over the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. The Titans running back is on pace to rush for nearly 2,200 yards, which would eclipse Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson's 37-year-old record (2,105).
The downhill runner is easily the best running back in the NFL right now. Jacksonville had a tough time bringing Henry to the ground, which is a common theme among all teams that face the Titans RB.
Browns RB Nick Chubb puts up big rushing numbers in loss
Nick Chubb was one of the stars in the Week 5 track meet at SoFi Stadium. The Browns rushed for 230 yards and had three rushing touchdowns, but still lost 47-42 to the Los Angeles Chargers. Chubb rushed for a season-high 161 yards. It was his highest rushing output since the 2019 season. He broke free on runs in between the tackles and bounced outside on others, including a 52-yard touchdown scamper.
Rookie RB Najee Harris has best game as pro
Najee Harris exceled in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 27-19 win against the Denver Broncos. The rookie running back had his first 100-yard rushing outing. He totaled 122 rushing yards on 23 carries. He also had a rushing touchdown. The Alabama product had 144 yards from scrimmage in the win.
Miami’s nonexistent running game
Jacoby Brissett isn’t getting any help from Dolphins running backs as he fills in for Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins rushed for a meager 39 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Buccaneers. Miami hasn’t topped 40 rushing yards in two-straight weeks. The Dolphins rushed for 35 total yards in Week 4.
Ezekiel Elliott turns back the clock versus Carolina
Ezekiel Elliott had a vintage performance against the Carolina Panthers. The Cowboys running back rushed 20 times for 143 yards and had one touchdown. Elliott’s 143 rushing yards are his highest rushing total since the 2018 season.
Elliott's longest gain was a 47-yard rumble. The 47-yard gain was Elliott’s longest run since his rookie year.
Derrick Henry carries load on ground, but Titans are stunned by Jets
Got to feel for Derrick Henry. He’s led the NFL in rushing for three-straight weeks, but his 157-yard performance on Sunday didn’t result in a win. The Titans were upset 27-24 in overtime by the lowly New York Jets.
The Titans are 2-2. Henry’s amassed an NFL-leading 510 rushing yards. He’s averaging 4.5 yards a carry.
Henry is on pace to have another 2,000-yard rushing season. He'd be the only player in NFL history to have consecutive 2,000-yard rushing seasons.
Entire Texans team
Simply put, the Texans didn’t show up in Week 4. They were completely dominated by the Buffalo Bills. When a team gets thoroughly manhandled, it’s really apparent in the trenches and on the ground. The Texans as a team gained a measly 48 total rushing yards in the 40-0 beatdown. They averaged just 2.7 yards a carry.
Derrick Henry plows his way to another 100-yard game
Derrick Henry is well on his way to a third straight NFL rushing crown. The Titans running back had 28 carries for 113 yards in Tennessee’s 25-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts. It’s the sixth division game that Henry’s topped the 100-yard mark.
Henry’s registered an NFL-high 353 rushing yards and three TDs on 80 total carries. The Titans are giving Henry the rock and he’s producing for the 2-1 team.
Two-back system in Cleveland
The Browns relied on running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on offense. The two combined for 165 rushing yards on 32 carries. Cleveland as a team gashed Chicago on the ground. The Browns rushed for 215 yards in the 26-6 victory.
Christian McCaffrey exits Panthers win in first half
Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s 24-9 Thursday night win over the Houston Texans. The running back pulled up after making a stutter step while running a sweep play. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said McCaffrey will be out a few weeks with a strained hammy.
McCaffrey's been hampered by injuries the last two seasons. He missed 13 games in 2020 because of separate injuries. The Panthers do-everything running back was off to a superb start this year. He was leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage going into Week 3. He currently has 201 rushing yards, one rushing TD and 163 receiving yards on 68 total touches (52 carries and 16 receptions).
King Henry topples Seahawks
After a subdued Week 1, Titans running back Derrick Henry came back with vengeance in Week 2.
The Titans gave the football to Henry and he helped the team rally back to defeat the Seahawks in Seattle. The downhill bruising running back compiled 35 carries for 182 and entered the end zone three times to lift the Titans to a 33-30 overtime victory.
Tennessee was patient with the run game and continue to feed Henry in the second half. Their game plan worked.
Aaron Jones reaches paydirt four times
Aaron Jones was a touchdown machine for the Green Bay Packers in their 35-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Monday night.
Jones scored four of Green Bay's five touchdowns. The running back had one TD on the ground and caught three touchdowns passes from Aaron Rodgers. He produced 115 yards from scrimmage in the victory to help lead the Packers to their first win of the season.
Saquon Barkley has quick flashback but then goes quiet vs. Washington
Let’s add some context to this choice. Coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2020, Saquon Barkley played his second game in five days. The running back was put in a tough position to succeed. The level of difficulty is even higher given the fact that defenses prioritize stopping Barkley on a weekly basis.
Barkley did flash for one play. He ran through a gapping hole and scampered 41 yards down the field, but that was by far his biggest gain in the Thursday night loss to Washington. He finished with 13 carries for 57 yards.
The Giants running back has 23 carries for 83 yards in two games. New York desperately needs Barkley to find his rhythm if they hope to get out of an 0-2 hole.
Mixon rushes for 127 yards in Bengals W
Joe Mixon told USA TODAY Sports+ he’d have a big season. The Bengals running back is off to a rousing start.
Mixon eclipsed the 100-yard mark in Week 1. The running back compiled 127 rushing yards and a touchdown during the Bengals’ 27-24 win against the Minnesota Vikings.
Cincinnati made a concerted effort to establish the run game, which was not the case last season. This time around, Mixon had 29 carries en route to his 127 rushing yards.
It was Mixon’s first 100-yard game since Week 4 last year. The Bengals starting running back ended his 2020 season with a Week 6 foot injury.
Next man up: Elijah Mitchell takes advantage of opportunity
San Francisco 49ers rookie running back Elijah Mitchell made the most of his opportunity with RBs Raheem Mostert and Trey Sermon both nursing injuries.
Mitchell took a toss to the right side and scampered 38 yards for the first touchdown of his NFL career.
The rookie sixth-round pick was forced into a more prominent role after injuries at the position.
Welcome back, Christian McCaffrey
The Panthers do-everything running back had 30 touches (21 carries, nine catches) in Carolina’s 19-14 win. He totaled 187 all-purpose yards (his most since Nov. 17, 2019) leading the Panthers in both rushing and receiving yards.
After an injury-plagued 2020, McCaffrey looked ready to shoulder the load in Carolina.
Bucs neutralize Ezekiel Elliott
Tampa Bay’s defense stymied the Cowboys starting running back Thursday. The Buccaneers crowded the box in an attempt to contain Elliott, and their defensive game-plan worked.
Dallas was discouraged to call run plays. When they did hand Elliott the football, he was contained. The Cowboys running back rushed 11 times for just 33 yards, averaging 3 yards a carry.
Elliott’s 33 total rushing yards in Week 1 are the fewest he’s had in a season opener.
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