In 2022, New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
However, prior to a week 7 injury, New York Jets Breece Hall running back Breece Hall was making his own case to take home that very same piece of hardware.
Unfortunately, Breece Hall’s injury wasn’t just any injury but rather an ACL injury. While ACL injuries are pretty common, they’re pretty concerning for a running back. I wrote about the very topic a bunch of times this offseason, including here and here. The second link even has a neat little summary of the larger point about running backs and ACL injuries:
This need to consider injury history in expectations also has relevance for Jets running back and fan favorite Breece Hall, who suffered a torn ACL in week 7. More specifically, as analyzed by Matthew Betz of thefantasyfootballers.com, running backs see drop-offs in fantasy points (a proxy for overall output) but also in efficiency stats such as yards per carry, yards after contact per attempt, yards per touch, and elusive rating in their first year returning from a torn ACL compared to their pre-injury levels.
But I forgot something. The thing with data is there are always going to be some outliers... and Breece Hall? By all accounts, he’s an outlier.
Through 5 games, Hall has been nothing short of electric. Just take a look at some of his stats:
- Rushing attempts: 54
- Rushing yards: 387
- Yards per attempt: 7.8 (!!!!!!!)
Seven. Point. Eight.
Seven point eight yards per attempt.
And we aren’t just talking a guy who is grinding yards away either, but rather a guy who is ripping off chunk plays as regularly as basically any other running back in the NFL.
Most Runs of 15+ Yards:— SAL VETRI (@SalVetriDFS) October 10, 2023
De'Von Achane: 7
James Conner: 6
Najee Harris: 6
Breece Hall: 6
R Mostert: 5
D Henry: 5
It isn’t hard to see why he’s able to do that when he’s apparently hitting the pre-injury top speeds that he did last year during his short-lived breakout campaign.
Breece Hall (72-yd Rush TD)— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 8, 2023
Expected Rush Yards: 10
Rush Yards Over Expected: +62
Top Speed: 21.50 MPH
Hall reached the 2nd-fastest speed of his career; tied for the 8th-fastest speed in the NFL this season#NYJvsDEN | #TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/0UxezR1nCF
Oh, and when he’s picking up yards after contact like a little kid does candy on Halloween.
RBs averaging ≥ 5 yards after contact per rush attempt:— Neer Ray (@NeerRayNFL) October 4, 2023
De’Von Achane 6.93
Breece Hall 6.16
Pierre Strong Jr. 5.54
Tyjae Spears 5.15
Jaleel McLaughlin 5.00 pic.twitter.com/YtcwmCS20c
All this to say, the NFL hasn’t seen a running back bounce back from an ACL injury like this since since Adrian Peterson ran for 2000 yards coming off an ACL injury. At the rate that Breece is going, this season might end up just as impressive and that’s worthy of praise.
With all that in mind, one of my favorite song lyrics is “If you admire someone, you should go ahead and tell them. People never get the flowers while they can still smell them.” Breece Hall deserves his roses right here and right now with the performance that he’s been providing so I’m here to hand them out virtually. To come back from this injury and to perform like this? Sheeeeeeesh, one bouquet might not even be enough.