NFC West rush defenses, one yard at a time

October, 27, 2012
10/27/12
12:30
PM ET
Three-fourths of the NFC West had a running back rush for at least 100 yards in Week 7.

The same three-fourths -- San Francisco, Arizona and Seattle -- also allowed a 100-yard rusher.

Sometimes, though, it's a single yard that matters most.

With that in mind, let's take a look at how the NFL's most defensive division has held up on third and fourth downs when opponents needed one yard for a first down.

I've filtered out plays when teams had additional defensive backs on the field, or when there was a fake punt. NFC West teams have given up nine first downs on nine rushes in those situations, including when Seattle's Marshawn Lynch gained eight yards against St. Louis while trailing in the final minutes. The Rams also gave up a 3-yard run to Miami Dolphins safety Chris Clemons on a fake punt.

By eliminating those plays, we get a better feel for how defenses fared when stopping the run was more important to them.

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