When eight in the box isn't a big deal at all

December, 22, 2012
12/22/12
7:00
PM ET

A little secret about those running backs forced to run against stacked defenses play after play: They don't really exist.

Check out the chart. It shows 2012 rushing yardage leaders against loaded box counts (those featuring more defenders in the box than the offense has available to block them).

None of the leaders has more than 58 rushes against loaded boxes.

Minnesota's Adrian Peterson plays for a one-dimensional offense. Opponents seemingly must worry only about stopping him to beat the Vikings, right? It sounds good, but Peterson, despite nearing the 2,000-yard mark for the season, has carried against loaded boxes only 39 times. His other 250 carries came against more favorable number counts.

Peterson has 87 carries for 582 yards against eight or more in the box, but the Vikings had at least as many blockers available for some of those plays. San Francisco's Frank Gore ranks second to Peterson in carries (85) and rushing yards (279) against eight or more in the box. The 49ers favor heavier personnel groupings on offense, however. As a result, they often have blockers available for each of those defenders in the box.

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