Dec 29, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown (31) is tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Donald Brown: By The Numbers

I am a numbers guy. I love statistics, math and number crunching. Why? Because numbers don’t lie. The Chargers signed former Colts running back Donald Brown to a 3 year, $10.5 million contract. I love this sign. My first article for Bolt Beat was on how we needed a “Robin” for our Batman in the Backfield, Ryan Mathews. Now we got him.

In 5 seasons for the Colts, Brown had 2,377 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns, 767 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. He is versatile. Another promising sign is that he has only fumbled twice in the 634 touches he has had (rushing attempts and receptions). We all know of Ryan Mathews’ occasional struggles in that department, fumbling 14 times with 986 touches. That is a fumble every 70 touches, while Brown averages a fumble every 317 touches. A dramatic difference. Brown was drafted out of Connecticut in 2009 and played in Super Bowl XLIV when the Colts lost to the Saints. He has playoff experience. This past postseason, he played 2 games, rushing for 118 yards and a touchdown. Also, in that historic comeback against the Chiefs, he had 47 receiving yards and a touchdown. He was much more of a presence in the postseason than Mathews was.

Brown also was second in the NFL averaging 5.3 yards per carry last season. Mathews averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2013. Brown is used to the “running back by committee” mentality, as he has shared most of his carries throughout his career with the likes of Joseph Addai, Vick Ballard and Trent Richardson. This is a great fit. Mathews is injury prone, and Brown is a viable second option, and could fill the role of starting running back if needed. It was obvious in the playoffs that Philip Rivers can’t carry the entire team to the Super Bowl by himself. Ryan Mathews was M.I.A. against Denver in the AFC Divisional game. With Brown, that will not happen again. Though we do still have glaring needs on the defensive side, this is a great step in the right direction.

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  • Julien Bélair

    I love the Batman and Robin mentality. Great signing.

    For those of you who will say we could draft a RB that could have done the same job and cost less. It is just not true.

    First it is always a gamble while we know what Brown can do.

    Second TT didn’t want to spent a second rd or third rd pick on a RB when we could have sign a very good CB, G or WR.

    Now let’s pound the rock in the donkeys’ throat !

    • Nick Lee


  • davacho

    seriously great write up! although i will say system can skew numbers… here’s to believing brown is the right fit. : )

  • 619chargers4life

    I thought he only fumbled once in the NFL , but who’s counting. That’s a damn good stat .

    • Nick Lee

      I think one fumble was a reception or return. Not a carry. But yeah, a very good stat.

  • navw21

    Well the good news is all of “our FA’s” are still on the market. Marshall, Ohrnberger, Tutu, and even Cam Thomas since we didn’t get a premier NT. Could bring those couple back on the cheap. Still like to get a couple of other teams FA’s though. WR Nicks and a corner. Tarell Brown, DRC, or a Dimitri Patterson who was cut by the Dolphins

  • C.Steele

    Really Nick? “Injury Prone”, “Fumbling Issues” & “MIA”? Are you sure Matthews is Batman? You make him sound like a Bum! I guess Brown should be starting, and the injury prone oft MIA RB with the fumbling issues should be cut.
    Never mind the reality of last year, Where the team wouldn’t have seen the Donkey’s in the playoffs if it wasn’t for the stupid amount of carries RM had to have to put in the last quarter of the season to get the team to that point. And somehow, after being run into the ground like a rented Mule, it’s his fault that he couldn’t go on a gimpy ankle?
    Further, no one seems to mention how his production jumped and injuries went down (despite more carries) as the OLine improved. Somehow this only benefited the QB? Preposterous!
    I agree with you that the signing of Brown was Ballerriffic, but you don’t have to throw RM under the bus to make your point.

    • Nick Lee

      I wasn’t trying to knock Mathews as much as try to make a point that we needed a second RB in case he goes down. Though he had an awesome year, we sucked when he couldnt play. I love the guy. I hope he plays every game and rushes for 2000 yards. We just needed the insurance is all.