A lot of the Super Bowl is going to happen on the ground. So which team has the better running attack? Let’s compare.
Ray Rice: 26 years old, 5-8, 212 pounds, 4.42 40-yard dash.
Career rushing average: 4.5 yards per carry.
2012 regular season stats: 257 rushes, 1,143 rushing yards, 4.4 yards per carry, 10 TDs, 61 receptions, 478 receiving yards. 2.36 yards after contact per attempt (rushing or receiving), 32 forced missed tackles, 23.7 pro football focus “elusive rating.”
2013 Postseason stats: 64 rushes, 247 rushing yards, 3.86 yards per carry, 2 TDs, 4 receptions , 69 receiving yards, 2.05 yards after contact per attempt, 10 forced missed tackles, 30.1 PFF elusive rating.
Frank Gore: 29 years old, 5-9, 217 pounds, 4.58 40-yard dash (in 2005).
Career rushing average: 4.6 yards per carry.
2012 regular season stats; 258 rushes, 1,214 rushing yards, 4.7 yards per carry, 9 TDs, 28 receptions, 234 receiving yards, 2.64 yards after contact per attempt, 41 forced missed tackles, 37.9 PFF elusive rating.
2013 Postseason stats: 44 rushes, 209 yards, 4.75 yards per carry, 3 TDs, 2 receptions, 48 receiving yards, 1.86 yards after contact per attempt, 4 forced missed tackles, 16.2 PFF elusive rating.
As you can see, although Rice is considered the better running back, Gore had the better season by almost every metric. It is worth noting that the 49ers have a better run blocking offensive line than the Ravens. Pro Football Focus ranks the 49ers’ O-line No.1 in run blocking, and the Ravens’ O-line No.10.
Also, it’s worth noting the Ravens’ backup running back, rookie Bernard Pierce, had a terrific season. He averaged 4.9 yards on 108 regular season rushes. He also averaged 3.48 yards after contact per attempt, third-best among running backs with more than 100 rushes, behind C.J. Spiller and Adrian Peterson. In the postseason, Pierce has rushed 27 times for 169 yards. That’s 6.26 yards per carry. Pierce is big – 6-0, 218 pounds – and he’s fast, he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. He can run inside and outside.
Who do you think has the better rushing attack, the Ravens or the 49ers?