Pro Football Focus’ in-depth charting and advanced stats look beyond the box score to identify key metrics otherwise overlooked across all positions in the NFL. This “Signature Stat Spotlight” series will walk readers through the varying advanced stats and metrics we track for every player at every position in every game.
Below, I’ve taken a deep dive into the running back position. In addition to grading all of the NFL’s running backs via our advanced grading process, PFF tracks forced missed tackles, yards after contact, elusive rating, breakaway percentage in Premium Stats 2.0, our advanced statistics database made available to all of our ELITE subscribers. I’ll also highlight some advanced stats we can pull from other sources behind the scenes at PFF that we sometimes reference in articles.
Signature Stat Spotlight Series:
RB | OL | CB | DL | QB | LB | S | WR
PFF’s elusive rating, which pulls carries, receptions, forced missed tackles and yards after contact into a formula to calculate a rating similar to passer rating, is meant to illustrate a running back’s elusiveness in a singular number. The formula: (Forced Missed Tackles) / (Carries + Receptions) * (Yards After Contact per Attempt * 100).
No back was more elusive on a per-touch basis than Cleveland Browns rookie Nick Chubb in 2018. Among the 38 NFL backs with 150-plus touches on the year, Chubb ranked first in PFF’s elusive rating at 103.3. Leading the group in yards after contact per attempt (4.47) and ranking tied for third in forced missed tackles per touch (0.231) will do that.
Plays like the one below will drive any back’s elusive rating through the roof, especially if backs can produce such plays consistently. Here, Chubb breaks away from the first contact made by Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee (No. 55). He then gets back up to full speed quickly and forces a whiff from safety Erik Harris in the open field to break free for a long touchdown run. He demonstrates great contact balance, acceleration, vision and, of course, elusiveness all on one play.
The play above also serves as a good segue way to discuss breakaway percentage. When a running back gains 15-plus yards on a single run, PFF tracks the…