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The NFL's best running backs on perfectly and non-perfectly blocked runs in 2021

Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) hands the ball off to running back Jonathan Taylor (28) against the Houston Texans in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the difference between perfectly blocked plays and plays with at least one bad block in the running and the passing games. We found that the difference between perfectly blocked run plays and non-perfectly blocked run plays was much wider than passing plays, and when a run is perfectly blocked, it’s the best play on average in football. We talked about this on the PFF Forecast and the Cris Collinsworth Podcast that week.

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So, what do we make of this information? Well, one of the first things we can do is look at which players have performed on perfectly blocked run plays and run plays with at least one bad block.

The first thing to look for in any data set is stability, and for running backs with more than 30 rushes on perfectly blocked run plays, year-to-year stability rings in at r = 0.238 (n = 564 players) from 2006-2021. Similar stability results hold for expected points added on such carries.

Yards per carry year to year from the running back position on perfectly blocked runs. N = 564 players with more than 30 such carries each year.

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