When Eric Dickerson entered the NFL, he came to do two things, chew bubblegum and kick ass, and he was all out of bubblegum. Dickerson was a tall running back, standing 6’3”, who possessed tremendous speed with an amazing burst. The first two seasons of #29’s career set the bar so high, that no other running back has yet to break to his single season rushing record from 1984, with 2,105 yards.
The Los Angeles Rams drafted Dickerson with the second overall pick in the 1983 draft, behind John Elway. In the strike-shortened season of 1982 the Rams finished 2-7, but the addition of E.D. would change their fortunes immediately.
In his rookie season it would take the former SMU Mustang only one game before he would make his first impact on the NFL. In Eric’s first ever game he carried the ball 31 times for 91 yards and no scores against the New York Giants, but the following week Dickerson would carry the ball 18 times, with three of them going for touchdowns. While this was an impressive start, it was in week four that #29 made the rest of the league take notice.
The Rams travelled to New York to face the Jets and Dickerson ran the ball 28 times for 192 yards with 2 touchdowns, while adding another 45 yards on five catches. This kid was for real, and if the league was not impressed enough, the following week #29 would bring the hammer down on the Detroit Lions. E.D. had 30 carries fro 199 yards and three touchdowns, with another 21 yards on three catches.
Those two games began a stretch where Dickerson had over 100 rushing yards in seven of eight games. During that stretch six of those games went for over 142 yards. He would finish that eight game stretch running for 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns. Holy crap!!! The Rams would end up going 9-7 on the season and beat the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. They would eventually lose to the Washington Redskins in the following round, but the Dickerson put the Rams on his back and brought the franchise back to respectability.
For the season Dickerson would finish with 1,808 rushing yards on 390 carries, with 18 touchdowns. The rookie would also add 404 yards with two scores on 51 receptions. That was an amazing total of 2,212 yards with 20 scores on the year. There is no doubt this is the best rookie season for a running back of all-time. Setting that bar that high for himself, #29 was more than ready for the challenge that awaited him in 1984.
Dickerson came into 1984 with a huge bull’s-eye on his back, but all he did was have the best rushing season in the history of the NFL with 2,105 rushing yards. He started the season with two 100-yard rushing games, but was shut down the next two weeks with only 138 rushing yards. That would soon change, as #29 was all world with over 100 yards rushing in 9 of his next 10 games.
Dickerson would rush for 1,629 yards with 11 touchdowns during this 10 game stretch. Seven of those games Eric would rush for 145 or more yards, with two 200-yard rushing games (208 vs. Cardinals, 215 vs. Oilers). That 10 game stretch would be a fantastic season any running back, but Dickerson was a true beast in 1984.
#29 would finish the season with 100 yards or more rushing in 12 games, 132 yards or more rushing in nine games, and of course his two 200+ yard rushing games. Dickerson also displayed his ridiculous speed during the season with at least a 20-yard run in 10 games. He topped 40-yard runs in 5 different games, all while being the main target of every defense that he faced. Eric took all the pressure and week after week he brought his best to the football field. Dickerson would lead the Rams to a 10-6 record, although they would fall to the New York Giants in a tough playoff loss 13-16. #29 gave his best effort in that game, rushing for 107 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown against Lawrence Taylor and a very stout Giant defense.
Dickerson’s first two seasons in the NFL just leave you scratching your head at how amazing he was. In 32 games E.D. ran 3,913 yards, 122.3 yard per game, with 32 touchdowns. If you include his receiving stats he finishes with 4,456 yards and 34 scores, which is an average of 139.25 yards per game and just better than a score per game. There was no running back that was more dominant in fantasy football during this time period. Dickerson’s two-season total of 4,456 yards would stand as the record until Marshall Faulk broke it in 1998-1999 with 4,656 yards. Although the fact that Dickerson’s totals came in his first two seasons in the league leaves him and his rec specs in a league of his own.