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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Four score: Gore, Lynch, Wells and Jackson

By Mike Sando

The four starting running backs from the NFC West have combined for 4,090 yards and 33 rushing touchdowns through 14 games. They are heading toward the regular-season finish line at varying speeds.

The Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch, though contained from a yardage standpoint at Chicago in Week 15, has been gaining momentum. He has five 100-yard games, all since Week 9. He has five rushing touchdowns over his last three games and has scored in each of his last 10 appearances.

The San Francisco 49ers' Frank Gore, slowed by various ailments, has averaged 56.2 yards per game over his last six appearances after gaining at least 107 yards in five consecutive games. Gore hasn't been injured seriously enough to appear on injury reports recently, but he has not always appeared full strength, either.

A knee injury has sometimes limited the Arizona Cardinals' Beanie Wells, but a 228-yard performance against St. Louis in Week 12 put Wells in position to claim the first 1,000-yard season of his career. He has 994 heading into the final two games of the season. He has 10 rushing touchdowns.

The St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson, slowed by a quadriceps injury early in the season. has appeared healthy over the last 10 games or so. A three-game run with at least 128 yards helped the Rams win two of three games from Weeks 8-10. His carries, yards and average per carry have dropped significantly since then, however.

The chart shows how many yards each NFC West back has gained, with projected totals for the season based on yards per game to this point. Gore has 11 runs of at least 20 yards, nearly as many as the other three combined (14).