I tweeted the headline a few hours ago and got the following responses:
“Agree to disagree. And he’s good enough to where they never should have trade a HOF corner and a second round pick for Portis.” — @johnmtaylor
“for whatever reason – age, injuries, not practicing – CP looks like he’s lost a step. Betts simply looks fresher with more burst.” — @thebrowncoat
“Betts isn’t better than Portis, but the Broncos game showed the Ewing Theory in full force. Sometimes less is more.” –@HomerMcFanboy
“Portis needs to practice to play. That’s why Betts looked better” — @ericmates
“But I heard on Extremeskins from some McDonalds guy that Betts is the second coming of Barry Sanders” — @joerussbowman
Love that last one, as it seems to mock the popular sentiment of Skins fans today, specifically that Betts is, at this point, a better back than Portis. And while that may be true (Portis is injured after all), what’s certain is that the overall running game was better yesterday than it had been previously.
Sure, we saw Betts’ “burst,” and Rock Cartwright’s too, but math don’t lie:
Betts’ yards per carry in Games 1-8: 3.5
Betts’ yards per carry in Game 9: 4.4
Cartwright’s yards per carry in Games 1-8: 3.4
Cartwright’s yards per carry in Game 9: 4.6
Something was different. Maybe it was the play-calling or the revamped offensive line, the mood of the team or the game plan, but something was definitely different, and it was bigger than Betts replacing Portis.
And for the record, Portis averaged 4.0 yards per carry in Games 1-8. It wasn’t like he was pulling a Larry Johnson (2.7) or LaDainian Tomlinson (3.3). But he did have 342 carries last season (third-most in the NFL), and has averaged 293 for the past seven, so it’s only natural to lump them together.
This is what happens to the great ones after all, and Portis is one of the greats. That’s just a fact, Jack. So while rooting for Betts to get his, I hope it’s not over for Portis just yet. I don’t think it is.