Titans running back Chris Johnson dives for the pylon, scoring his first rushing touchdown of the 2012 season.
GUESS WHO'S BACK, BACK AGAIN
Please allow me to re-introduce Chris Johnson. Remember? That running back out of East Carolina? CJ2K?
Well, we may have forgotten about the Titans running back, but who can blame us? Johnson had combine for 32 points in his first six games, but nearly doubled that in Week 7 when he broke off 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns (31 points) in a 35-24 win over the Bills.
The two scores were Johnson's first rushing touchdowns of the season, but the most promising number going forward for Johnson is his yards per carry. Heading into Sunday's game, he was averaging 3.27 yards/carry. With 10.83 yards/carry on Sunday, his season average is up to a very respectable 4.51 (5.02 in the last two weeks).
Here's a look at how his yards/carry have changed after each game this season:
|1||NE||11 rush, 4 yards||4||0.36|
|2||@SD||8 rush, 17 yards||2||1.11|
|3||DET||14 rush, 24||2||1.36|
|4||@HOU||25 rush, 141 yards||15||3.21|
|5||@MIN||15 rush, 24 yards||0||2.88|
|6||PIT||19 rush, 91 yards||11||3.27|
|7||@BUF||18 rush, 195 yards, 2 TD||31||4.51|
Sure, Johnson had his big day against the Bills, who have struggled against the run to say the least, but he is showing improvement. And those of you that have been able to withstand the bad start were duly rewarded on Sunday.
Johnson wasn't the only under-performing running back to post a season high on Sunday. Adrian Peterson put up his first 20+ point game since Week 1 as he rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries (21 points).
Watching the games on Sunday, I felt like Doc Brown had kidnapped me back to 2009.
CONSIDER YOURSELF LUCKY...
If you played against Vincent Jackson yesterday, consider yourself lucky. You read that correctly. I said against.
I was one of those people dealing with chest pains as Jackson went off for 216 yards and a touchdown (27 points) in the Bucaneers' 35-28 loss to the Saints.
Then I thought about it, and realized how much worse it could have been.
First, Jackson was chased down on the goal line after a 95-yard reception. Had he been a little faster (or perhaps a little younger), Jackson would have scored there, and added another 6 points to his already ridiculous total.
Second, Jackson was targeted 14 times, but only finished with seven catches. If he had caught a few more, who knows how many more points he would have totaled.
Finally, on the Bucs' final drive, Jackson was inches from adding another touchdown. His foot landed just out of bounds, but had he caught the pass, he would have not only added another touchdown, but he would have forced the game into overtime, possibly giving him another chance to add more points.
Therefore, it's not hard to imagine a scenario in which Jackson totaled something closer to 45 points (250 yards, 3 TD). And who knows what would have happened if the game went into overtime.
So like I said, lucky.
Matt Mullin is the sports editor at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin