Super Bowl 2013: The Running Game By the Numbers


Jan 28, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) speaks during a press conference at the Marriott New Orleans game to discuss Super Bowl XLVII to be held February 3, 2013. Mandatory Credit: Tyler Kaufman-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is interviewed during media day in preparation for Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With the countdown to Super Bowl XLVII finally starting to wind down, it’s time to start looking at the matchups on the field. Specifically, we are going to look at the running game, and see who has the edge. Which one of these two guys had a better season, per Pro Football Focus, Ray Rice or Frank Gore? We are going to use some of their unique grades to look at who has the edge on Sunday, “By the Numbers.”

First let’s see who graded out higher overall:


If you looke at their grade, solely based on running, there is a huge difference:


So, what accounts for this difference? Well, look at their rankings in the passing game:

RAY RICE: 9.3 (first overall)FRANK GORE: -0.6

So, one guy is more of a threat strictly in the running game, while one is more of a balanced threat. One more number to look at…..who is more elusive? (Elusive ranking per PFF)


What does this all tell us? Frank Gore is more of the lethal threat on the ground, but Ray Rice can beat you multiple ways.

Finally, we look at to see how these defensive lines fared against the run.

The Niners allowed nearly .5 a yard less per run with a 3.68 yards per carry, vs the Ravens 4.10. The Ravens were actually last in stuffed percentage, or the percentage of time that they stopped the RB for either no gain or a loss. By contrast, the 49ers were ranked right in the middle at #16. The Ravens power rank was 29th, which means in situations of 3rd or 4th and 2 or less, the Ravens were near the bottom of the league at preventing a TD or a first down. The Niners were 17th.

Basically, the Ravens give it up a lot more than the 49ers do, and the 49ers RB is the more explosive one. Going by the numbers, Jim Harbaugh will win this element of the brothers battle on Sunday.