Chart: You have to run to win in the play-offs
|Written by Chris Vannini|
Posted by: Chris Vannini on January 14, 2013
Coaches like to say you have to run the ball to win the game.
When the NFL play-offs come around, it's even more prevalent, and the first two rounds have once again proven that.
Through eight play-off games, the team that has won the rushing battle has won seven of them. The one loss featured Adrian Peterson, who no one could stop.
Here's the chart:
Before the play-offs, we listed the starters in the trenches, because you have to win there. If you want to use yards per carry, the record goes to 6-2, as the Bengals had a higher number than the Texans, but Cincinnati only rushed the ball 16 times in that game.
While the record is also 7-1 for the team with more passing yards, the rushing yardage battle is going against some of the regular season numbers. For example: Washington had more rushing yards than Seattle in the regular season, while Seattle had much more than Atlanta.
The Patriots averaged just four more rushing yards than Houston in the regular season, but they had 31 more in the divisional matchup, including 1.1 more yards per carry.
What does this mean for the Championship weekend? The Patriots averaged 18 more rushing yards than the Ravens in the regular season, while the 49ers averaged 68 more yards than the Falcons. In the play-offs, Baltimore is averaging 40 more yards than New England, while San Francisco averages 156 more yards than Atlanta.
Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com
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