This has been a pet peeve of mine for years...my cousin and I talk a lot of football, specifically regarding stats as we are both Fantasy Football degenerates.
What is the difference between an 80 yard game and a 100 yard game?
Oh too often it is effort. If a RB has 20 carries a game and simply falls forward when being taken down each and every time, he will add 1-2 yards to each run...thus ending the day with 20+ yards more at the end of the day. Sure that sounds simple, but that was one of the major keys to LJ's success in the last two years. It is also one of the major differences in a number of the top RBs that are struggling this year. Watch Gore, and SJax before he got injured and the level of aggression as they finish a run is dramatically different than last year.
I'm not a big fan of Denver and many of their tactics, but this is one thing they do right, and if they don't their RBs get an earful. If the game calls for it step out of bounds, but if not, get the extra yardage...it helps your team.
Figure a RB is between 5'10" and 6'0" tall, and holds the ball right around 4' above the ground...if he falls forward 20 times a game as opposed to the average 5-10 that many do...that's at least another 60 feet (or 20 yards).
This is completely editorial, but after watching LJ fall sideways, straight down, or backward repeatedly the last 5 weeks (even in San Diego he wasn't really finishing runs, he just had more space to work with). He has the ability, but seems to have lost the attitude. Gore, SJax, and McGahee seem to have caught the same bug this year.
To give credit, watch Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, or Ronnie Brown run this year...they're running with purpose and fight...they don't take unnecessary hits, but rather than going down they'll cut diagnally and go down in a forward motion...IT ADDS UP...