TAMPA, Fla. – Since rushing for 152 yards against the Cowboys to kick off the season, the Buccaneers have averaged 49 yards rushing per game to go with a remarkably inept 2.6 yards per carry.
They had 44 yards on the ground in Thursday night’s loss to Baltimore, which brought their league-worst average down to 61.9.
The Bucs, who had a scant six yards rushing in Week 4 against the Chiefs, do not have a run as long as 20 yards. In fact, Leonard Fournette’s 17-yard run against the Cowboys is the team’s only run of more than 14 yards. Think about that. After eight weeks!
In their previous 46 seasons, the Buccaneers’ low mark was 80.6 yards rushing per game in 1993. That is one of five seasons in their history that they did not average at least 90 yards on the ground.
In descending order, here is look at the five worst rushing seasons in team history. League rank is in paren.
1991: 89.3 (19th out of 28 teams)
In the first of his three straight seasons of leading the team in rushing, Reggie Cobb ran for 752 yards and averaged 3.8 per tote for Richard Williamson’s 3-13 squad. The Bucs, who averaged 3.9 per carry, but were held to under 50 yards rushing four times, got 263 yards out of Gary Anderson and 179 out of rookie fullback Robert Wilson, who had only four more yards in his brief NFL career. Quarterbacks Vinny Testaverde, Chris Chandler and Jeff Carlson combined for 205.
2014: 85.9 (30th of 32)
The Bucs capped a 2-14 season under Lovie Smith by rushing for 183 yards against the Saints, easily their high on the season. The week before, against Green Bay, they had all of 16 yards rushing on a day they totaled 109 yards. Doug Martin, who missed five games, had a team-high 494 yards (3.7) while Bobby Rainey had 406 (4.3). Charles Sims had 185 yards (2.8) in his rookie season and quarterback Josh McCown had 127.
2001: 85.7 (30th of 31)
Mike Alstott led the way with 680 yards (4.1) and ran for 10 touchdowns. Warrick Dunn averaged only 2.8 per carry while rushing for 447 yards. There was precious little else on the ground as quarterback Brad Johnson (120) was the only other player with at least 100 yards. A 9-7 regular season ended with a loss to the visiting Eagles, who the Bucs lost to the following week in a wild card game in Philly. That was Tony Dungy’s final game on the Bucs’ sideline, a game which Tampa Bay rushed for 63 yards.
1983: 84.6 (27th of 28)
The Bucs averaged less than three yards per carry in each of the first five games (all losses) during a 2-14 campaign in John McKay’s next-to-last season of his coaching career. Somehow, they ran for 208 yards in a win at Minnesota. James Wilder led the way with 640 yards and a 4.0 average. Mel Carver had 348 yards (3.1) and James Owens 266 (2.8) with no other player checking in with more than 30 yards.
1993: 80.6 (27th of 28)
As he did in 1991, Reggie Cobb paced the running game. His 658 yards (3.0) were more than half the team total (1290) for Sam Wyche’s 5-11 Bucs. Though they topped the century mark four times in a five-game stretch during the season’s back half, they were held under 60 yards rushing in four of the first five games. Vince Workman, in his first of two seasons with the Bucs, had 284 yards (3.6) and Mazio Royster had 115 of his 122 career rushing yards. The Bucs’ longest run was 22 yards by receiver Horace Copeland. Workman had a 21-yard run to pace the RBs.