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Expand chart
Data: NFL; Table: Axios Visuals

Driven by rule changes and schematic innovations, as well as a correlation between pass-happy offenses and winning, the NFL is in the midst of an aerial revolution. And yet — most of the remaining playoff teams love to run the ball.

By the numbers: For the first time since 1970, the top four passing teams by yards (Buccaneers, Cowboys, Falcons, Rams) missed the playoffs, while the top four rushing teams (Ravens, 49ers, Titans, Seahawks) made it, per FiveThirtyEight.

  • The eight remaining playoff teams gained 36.9% of their yards on the ground this season, while the league's other 22 were decided more passing-oriented, gaining just 30.8% of their yards on the ground.
  • The Chiefs ranked fifth in passing yards during the regular season, but the other seven playoff teams all finished outside the top 12: 49ers (13th), Seahawks (14th), Texans (15th), Packers (17), Titans (21st), Vikings (23), Ravens (27).

Between the lines: Despite gaining so many rushing yards, the divisional-round's best rushing teams look nothing like the "ground-and-pound" offenses of yesteryear (outside of maybe the Titans).

  • Rather, they utilize spread-based attacks where the QB is a threat to run at any given moment.
  • Five of the eight longest runs last weekend were by QBs.

The bottom line: The golden age of superstar RBs has clearly passed, but dual-threat QBs like Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson are all the rage, and its changing how we think about rushing offense.

Go deeper ... NFL coaching carousel: Only the Browns remain without a hire

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.