Donald Brown: By The Numbers

By Nick Lee

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

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.