Stopping the run

General Published on : 9/19/2003

"Defense wins championships" is the adage. Here's a statistic that validates that claim.

Six teams in the National Football League who had the longest streaks of limiting opponent's runners to less than 100 yards in a game had a combined .692 winning percentage (36 wins, 16 losses) in those games. All six teams made the playoffs in 2002 including the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The six teams also extended their streaks in Week 1 of the 2003 season but last week wasn't as friendly to the defenses. Three of the teams had their streaks snapped during the rushing frenzy that highlighted Week 2.

Streak start of season (current)


Indianapolis Colts
12 (14)
The Colts have extended the streak to 14. The Browns' William Green was the top ground gainer for Cleveland in Week 1 with 86 yards. Eddie George led the Titans with 46 yards in Week 2.


San Francisco 49ers
10 (12)
The 49ers defense added to the streak in Weeks 1 and 2. Chicago's leading rusher in Week 1 was QB Kordell Stewart who had 21 yards on the ground. Marshall Faulk led the way for the Rams in Week 2 with 57 rushing yards against the SF defense.


Tennessee Titans
9 (--)
The Titans extended the streak to 10 games by holding the Raiders' Charlie Garner to 21 yards in the season opener but the streak ended last week when the Colts' Edgerrin James rushed for 120 yards on 30 carries and scored one TD.
New York Giants
7 (9)
The Giants' streak has reached nine games. New York held Marshall Faulk to 28 yards in Week 1 and Troy Hambrick of the Cowboys to 60 yards last Monday night.


Pittsburgh Steelers
7 (--)
The Steelers did not allow a 100-yard rusher in Week 1 (Jamal Lewis was the Ravens' top rusher with 69 yards) but had the streak stopped last week when Priest Holmes gained 122 yards on 26 carries and ran for 3 TDs.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7 (--)
The tough Bucs defense stopped Philadelphia in Week 1 when Donovan McNabb was the Eagles leading rusher with 55 yards but the Panthers' Stephen Davis rushed 33 times for 142 yards in Week 2 to end Tampa Bay's streak at 8 games.