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Thursday, January 8, 2009
Real 'Double Trouble'? Carolina's RBs and O-line

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

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At various times this season, we've heaped praise on Carolina running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart and the offensive line. Usually, we've focused on one or the other at a given time.

But the reality with the Panthers is these two groups go together. That's nicely demonstrated by some numbers from Football Outsiders (via ESPN Stats & Information) that show Carolina's running backs are good on their own and good because of the offensive line.

Here's what ESPN Stats & Information sent along this morning:

Football Outsiders has a stat called "Power Success Rate," which is defined as the percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown (it also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer). It basically measures how good a team is at converting in "power running situations," which is generally attributed more to the offensive line than the running backs. The Panthers rank first in the NFL with a 79% power success rate, well above the league average of 67%.

Highest "Power Success Rate" During 2008
TeamRate
Panthers79%
Chargers78%
Ravens78%
Seahawks76%
Dolphins76%

On the flip side, to measure how successful a team's running backs are, Football Outsiders has created a stat called "10+ Yards." This is defined as the percentage of a team's rushing yards that come more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, at which point the running back is generally on his own without much help from his blockers. Twenty-seven percent of the Panthers' rushing yards came more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, best in the NFL this season.

Here are the teams with the highest percentage of team rushing yards coming more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage during hte 2008 regular season:

Team%
Panthers27%
Giants25%
Chiefs25%
Vikings24%
Texans24%
NFL average19%