A few days ago, Football Outsiders posted a report on how running backs ranked when it came to broken tackles last season. Would Peyton Hillis' tough running style put him toward the top of the broken tackle rankings? You might think so, but then again, part of Hillis' success didn't come from breaking away from defenders -- it came from lowering his head and pushing the defender(s) back an extra yard or two before being stopped.
There are two ways to look at the broken tackles rankings: the total amount of broken tackles, and the percentage of plays that broken tackles occurred.
Total Broken Tackles: Hillis ranked 8th in the NFL with 35 broken tackles. There were a lot of good running backs listed ahead of him, such as Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, and Darren McFadden. None of the other AFC North running backs were ranked ahead of Hillis.
Percentage of Broken Tackles: FO does not list the complete rankings for this category, only the top 10 and the bottom 10. By my estimate of scanning the non-ordered table, Hillis ranked 20th in the league with a 10.6% rate. This category is less important to an extent because most of the highly-ranked running backs are either backup running backs, or receive few touches. Hillis, for example, had 331 touches last season, but no one in the top 10 had more than 285 touches, and most of the backs listed had less than 225 touches.
The final statistic that FO investigated was, "Broken Tackles by Offenses." This measured everyone on the Browns, not just Hillis, and not including special teams plays. The Browns broke a tackle on 6.7% of the plays they ran, which was good for 6th in the NFL. That seemed a bit high considering Hillis seemed like our only guy who could break away from a defender. Where a team ranks probably isn't too important on the outcome of the season though, as the Ravens, Jets, and Packers are at the bottom of the list, while the Panthers, Bills, and Browns are in the top seven.