March 4, 2013

MVP Profile: Marshall Faulk, 2001


Running Back, St. Louis Rams



Age: 28
8th season in pro football, 3rd with Rams
College: San Diego State
Height: 5’10” Weight: 211

Prelude:
Taken in the first round of the 1994 NFL draft (second overall) by the Indianapolis Colts, Faulk had a Rookie of the Year season with 1282 rushing yards and 52 catches for 522 more, establishing himself as an outstanding combination runner/receiver. He was selected to the Pro Bowl as well and was chosen again following a 1995 performance in which he rushed for 1078 yards and had 56 catches. Injuries, and a subpar offensive line, reduced his production significantly in 1996 and he ran for 1054 yards and caught 47 passes for a 3-13 team in ’97. Faulk returned to Pro Bowl form in 1998 as he rushed for 1319 yards and gained 908 yards on 86 pass receptions to lead the NFL with 2227 yards from scrimmage. He was traded to the Rams in the offseason for two draft picks and in 1999 became the key to a championship offense as he again led the league in yards from scrimmage (2429) with 1381 on the ground and 1048 through the air on 87 catches. Faulk thus became the second running back to gain a thousand yards both rushing and receiving in a season and, in addition to being chosen to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time, was a consensus first-team All-Pro. He followed up with another strong season in 2000, receiving MVP consideration while setting a new record for touchdowns (26) and gaining 1359 rushing yards plus 830 more on 81 catches for a total of 2189 yards from scrimmage. Faulk was a consensus first-team All-Pro for a second straight year and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive time and fifth overall.

2001 Season Summary
Appeared and started in 14 of 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 260 [14]
Most attempts, game - 30 (for 202 yds.) at Carolina 12/23
Yards – 1382 [5]
Most yards, game – 202 yards (on 30 carries) at Carolina 12/23
Average gain – 5.3 [3]
TDs – 12 [2, tied with Antowain Smith]
200-yard rushing games – 1
100-yard rushing games – 5

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 83 [13, tied with Joe Horn & Jerry Rice]  
Most receptions, game – 9 (for 80 yds.) at Detroit 10/8
Yards – 765
Most yards, game - 128 (on 6 catches) at Atlanta 12/2
Average gain – 9.2
TDs – 9 [5, tied with seven others]
100-yard receiving games – 1

Passing
Attempts – 1
Completions – 0
Interceptions – 0

All-Purpose Yards – 2147 [1]

Scoring
TDs – 21 [1]
2-pt PATs – 1
Points – 128 [1]

Postseason: 3 G
Rushing attempts – 64
Most rushing attempts, game – 31 (for 159 yds.) vs. Philadelphia, NFC Championship
Rushing yards – 317
Most rushing yards, game – 159 (on 31 att.) vs. Philadelphia, NFC Championship
Average gain rushing – 5.0
Rushing TDs – 3

Pass receptions – 14
Most pass receptions, game – 6 (for 47 yds.) vs. Green Bay, NFC Divisional playoff
Pass receiving yards – 114
Most pass receiving yards, game – 54 (on 4 rec.) vs. New England, Super Bowl
Average yards per reception – 8.1
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Kickoff returns – 1
Kickoff return yards – 1

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: PFWA, Bert Bell Award, Sporting News
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Rams went 14-2 to finish first in the NFC West and gain the top seed in the conference for the playoffs while leading the NFL in total offense (6690 yards), passing yards (4663), scoring (503 points), and touchdowns (62). Won NFC Divisional playoff over Green Bay Packers (45-17) and NFC Championship over Philadelphia Eagles (29-24). Lost Super Bowl to New England Patriots (20-17).

Aftermath:
Faulk had one last Pro Bowl season in 2002 (his 7th overall), but injuries and accumulated wear-and-tear were reducing his production. While he played until 2005, he never again gained over a thousand yards rushing or two thousand yards from scrimmage. For his career, he rushed for 12,279 yards and 100 touchdowns and caught 767 passes for 6875 yards and another 36 TDs. At the time, his 19,190 total yards ranked sixth all-time and 136 TDs placed fourth. Faulk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2011.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/4/14]

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