Urban Meyer is still having a hard time getting used to the difference between college and the NFL.
On Monday, Meyer said that he has spent most of his time coaching both the offense and kicking of the Jaguars and laid out some pretty lofty goals.
“If you say, ‘What’s the identity of the Jacksonville Jaguar offense?’, it’s a physical offense that runs the ball and is balanced,” Meyer said. “Our goal is always 250/250 [rushing yards/passing yards]. I want to say we were 250/200 [on Sunday].”
That is an ambitious goal. One might even say it’s unattainable, especially given the current state of the Jaguars. Can a team really have an offense that is running and passing for 250 yards each? It doesn’t look promising.
Can a team reach 250/250?
When Meyer was the coach at Ohio State, he had the same goal for his offense: 250/250.
He would talk about it often as the key to maintaining a dynamic, balanced offense that kept defenses guessing. And in college, he was able to run that offense about as well as anyone.
According to Sports-Reference’s Play Index, Meyer’s Buckeyes tallied 20 games with 250 rushing yards and 250 passing yards, the fourth-most of any team from 2012 to 2018. His teams reached that milestone in 21.7 percent of the contests he coached for the team. Unsuprisingly, that boded well as his teams went 20-0 during those games.
That’s a lot! Surely, this can be done in the NFL… right?
The record for the most times a team has rushed for 250 and passed for 250 in a season is: one. According to Stathead, there have only been 52 games where a team has reached both 250 rushing yards and passing yards. In the years Meyer was at Ohio State, it only happened seven times. It bears repeating: no team has ever done it twice in the same season.
But credit where credit is due, Meyer is right that accomplishing said feat would be a promising goal. Teams that have done it are 49-2-1. So reach that milestone, and the odds are very good that a win will follow.
What about 250/200?
Meyer’s team was a lot closer to a 250/200 game during Sunday’s 37-19 loss to the Titans.
Trevor Lawrence threw for 273 passing yards and the team collectively rushed for 198 yards, with James Robinson accounting for the bulk of that with 149 rushing yards on 18 carries.
This is a more achieveable goal than the 250/250, but it is still not particularly common. NFL teams have passed for 250 and rushed for 200 in a game 313 times, and passed for 200 and rushed for 250 153 times. The record for the former is 282-29-2, while the record for the latter is 149-3-1.
But even here, the most times a team has accomplished either of those two marks in a single season is three, and that was hit by only nine teams in NFL history.
Ideally, yes a team should demonstrate a balanced offense. But this isn’t college where teams are racking up 600-plus yards of total offense against greatly overmatched opponents. The NFL is much more like facing Alabama every week. And teams just don’t put up 250 of each against the Crimson Tide (even Texas A&M just went 285 passing and 94 rushing last weekend).