We are now three quarters of the way through the 2020 season. That means anybody looking to hit certain landmarks should already be 75 percent of the way there. Where we currently stand, there are nine running backs who are on pace to rush for 1000 yards this season, and a 10th that is very close to being on that pace.
None of those running backs, as you might imagine, are with the Pittsburgh Steelers, though if James Conner hadn’t missed the past two games due to the required quarantining after testing positive for Covid-19, he likely would be. Two of those running backs are with the Cleveland Browns.
Even though he missed four games, amazingly, third-year back Nick Chubb has rushed for 799 yards this season, which is the fifth-most in the NFL. He is averaging nearly 100 yards on the ground per game, so he could conceivably finish the year up at around 1200 yards on the ground.
Then there is Kareem Hunt, the Steelers’ other back. He is the one who is nearly on pace to rush for 1000 yards, but not quite there. Through 12 games played, he has rushed for 739 yards, which means that he is just 11 yards shy of hitting that necessary pace to finish over 1000.
With Chubb back, Hunt is not going to get as much work, as should go without saying, especially with the Browns very much in the thick of the playoff race, and even still in play for the AFC North, so they won’t be going out of their way to try to get anybody to certain landmark if it is not in service to their winning games.
Should bot Chubb and Hunt finish with over 1000 yards, however, they would become just the eighth pair of teammates in NFL history to accomplish that feat in the same season, and the sixth as a pair of running backs, though it’s not so long ago that two players had done that.
In fact, it happened just last year when running back Mark Ingram and quarterback Lamar Jackson both rushed for over 1000 yards for the Baltimore Ravens. Nobody on the Ravens is on pace to hit 100 yards this year. Jackson is the only player with at least 500 rushing yards, and he is under 700.
The last pair of running backs to hit the 1000-yard mark in the same season was Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, who both accomplished the feat with the Carolina Panthers more than a decade ago, during the 2009 season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in this pretty exclusive club as well. In 1976, both Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier rushed for over 1000 yards, and did so in a 14-game season, no less. Harris also set the single season franchise touchdown record that year with 14, a record that stood until Willie Parker scored 16 touchdowns decades later.