Samaje Perine runs hard. He hits holes without hesitation. He’s more than capable in pass blocking. And he looks fully healthy. It is for those reasons that I’m about to argue that right now he deserves to be taking away carries from the supremely talented, exceedingly charismatic Joe Mixon.
First, let’s take a look at what Perine was able to do against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter, when the opponent knew the Bengals were trying to run down the clock.
i'll give him a couple. this is what reading zone is supposed to look like. we gawked over le'veon's patience when that was only possible behind an impenetrable line. you need this decisiveness paired w/ balance and efficient cuts. the finishing power is needed no matter what. https://t.co/YUQzw31z3p pic.twitter.com/NQiiduhykO— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) September 25, 2022
Perine ran for positive yardage (and at least four yards) seven times in a row. That is honestly quite astonishing considering how weak the running game has been all year.
And I wasn’t the only one massively impressed with the drive. As you can see, Perine earned an 86.3 rushing grade and 76.9 pass blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. This after seeing only one carry in each of the first two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys.
Samaje Perine ended up having himself a heck of a game yesterday!— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) September 26, 2022
86.3 PFF Rushing Grade (1st among RBs in Week 3 before MNF)
47 yards on 9 rushes (5.2 YPA)
12-yard receiving touchdown
76.9 PFF Pass Block Grade
3 missed tackles forced
All on 23 total snaps! pic.twitter.com/8slC0D7pIm
And it should be noted that Perine wasn’t getting better blocking than Mixon was.
Average play grade (runs only) on Perine’s feature at the end of the game was…— Parker Blake (@ParkerBlake60) September 27, 2022
I wouldn’t say that he had better blocking by any means…
This led to a little discussion about how carries should be split between the two backs. On the #1 Bengals Podcast, we talked about why Perine might make more sense for a team looking for a counter punch to a high-flying vertical attack.
Watch the conversation by clicking here!
As you can see in the clips below, Perine runs more decisively and uses his power more effectively. There is no wasted movement but rather just a battering ram lowering his head and keeping his legs moving to pick up the yards available. Mixon, meanwhile, seems to be in his own head, moving horizontally while missing out on the opportunities in front of him.
You can also listen to our discussion on iTunes or using the player below:
So what do you think?
How should the carries be split between Mixon and Perine?
This poll is closed
90% Mixon, 10% Perine
75% Mixon, 25% Perine
50% Mixon, 50% Perine
More Perine than Mixon