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Matt Forte Had a Low Rate of Big Runs for the Jets in 2016: A Look at Big Play Ratio for the NFL's Most Used Backs

Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

It probably is no great surprise if you watched the Jets, but Matt Forte was not a big play runner in 2016.

I wanted to get an idea about which backs made big runs. Fortunately, Pro Football Reference's Play Index is our friend. There were 19 backs in the NFL this season with at least 200 carries. These were the subjects of my test. It is easier to rip off a higher percentage of big runs if you don't have the same workload. Your body can rest, and you can empty the tank on runs. If you are a three down back taking a big pounding, though, ripping off consistent big runs is different.

I looked at the percentage of rushes that resulted in gains of 10 yards or more. I didn't just pick 10 because it was a round number either. A 10 yard run was bigger than approximately 90% of all rushes so these were the difference-making runs.

Forte didn't finish at the very bottom, but his low rate certainly was closer to the bottom than the top.

Player Percent
Howard 17.06349
Ajayi 15
Elliott 14.90683
McCoy 14.52991
Bell 14.17625
Freeman 13.21586
Ingram 12.19512
Hyde 11.98157
D. Johnson 11.6041
Murray 10.9215
Blunt 9.698997
Stewart 9.633028
Gordon 9.448819
Ware 9.345794
Miller 8.955224
Forte 8.256881
Gore 6.844106
Gurley 6.115108
Hill 5.855856

Forte may or may not be done as an effective player, but the evidence strongly suggests the Jets need to rethink his usage. He isn't making big runs at a steady enough pace to carry the bulk of the workload.