Originally Posted by Beantown Bronco
Depending on how large the sample size is, yes, 4 CAN be better than 5. It's all in how you get there.
Clinton Portis was the master of the 100 yard game and often had a nice 5 ypc with us. The problem was, 80 of those yards would come on 3 or 4 carries. The other 15+ carries he'd only get 30 or so yards. That CAN hurt a team more than a guy who spreads his 4 yards per carry out fairly evenly over the course of a full game. A Mike Anderson type. When you need a guy to extend drives and rest the defense, a consistent 4 yard per carry guy can help out a lot more than an all or nothing "home run hitter" can.
That's nice and all, so long as you can assume that the player is given equal opportunity in different types of scenarios. But even to the casual observer that wasn't the case. If it was close on 3rd down, they ran. Here's a fun situational stat:
Tim Tebow, 2011 3rd down passing attempts:
Less than 3 yards to gain: 2
More than 8 yards to gain: 43
And then morons b**** about his 3rd down conversion percentage.
And just for your reference, Kyle Orton was allowed to throw 8 times on 3rd and less than 3, just in his 4.5 games last year.