CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01: Ray Lewis #52 and Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens tackle Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 24-16. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Cedric Benson very well could be playing his final game as the Cincinnati Bengals feature back this weekend in Houston. His five fumbles this year is tied for most amongst running backs (Ryan Matthews) according to NFL.com. Additionally Benson has failed to surpass a four-yard-per-rush average in all but five games this season. You know the story and that irritating feeling when Benson runs the ball straight into his own lineman for a no-gain on third and short.
According to Football Outsiders, which takes a deep examination into a player's performances beyond the mainstream statistics, Benson was one of the most overrated players in the NFL in 2011.
Benson had a 1,000-yard season for a playoff team. He has to be pretty good, right? Not really. Benson had lots of yards because he had lots of carries, but on a per-play basis he was probably hurting his team. In that way, 2011 looked a lot like most other recent Benson years. Benson has been one of the worst starting running backs in the league for four of the past five years; the exception was 2009, when he was slightly above average. This year, Benson averaged just 3.90 yards per carry and ranked 45th in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric; he was 39th in 2010. He's also not a good receiver, gaining fewer than 4.0 yards per pass target.