In 1978, the New England Patriots set the current single-season record for rushing yards with 3,168. They remain the only team to top 3,000 rushing yards in a season.
But the 49ers, with the dual-threat Colin Kaepernick under center, have sparked discussion in the league about an increase in read-option plays and a corresponding reliance on rushing yards.
So with Kaepernick facing what will likely be his first full season as a starter, what's the likelihood of the Niners taking the record for single-season rushing yards?
Unfortunately, the chances are slim unless the 49ers can beef up their running game even more. Believe it or not, the team actually netted about seven more rushing yards per game when Alex Smith was starting during this last season than Kaepernick (including the postseason).
If the 49ers maintain their average of 161.3 rushing yards per game next season, they would have to play four playoff games to beat the record set by the Patriots so many years ago. That is, they would need to enter the playoffs through the wildcard round and make it back to the Super Bowl.
However, the team could settle for third (behind New England in '78 and Buffalo in '73) if it makes three playoff games, which seems more likely.
Note: I left the home game against St. Louis out of the statistics because it was split between Smith and Kaepernick.
Do you think the 49ers could break the single-season rushing record next season?
Yes (15 votes)
No (22 votes)
37 total votes