Leonard Fournette's strong postseason start puts him in exclusive company in NFL history


If there was any saving grace for New Orleans natives about the Saints' loss in the divisional round of the playoffs, it could have been that another New Orleans native had quite the performance for the opposing Buccaneers.

That would be Leonard Fournette — or Playoff Lenny, thanks to Big Cat from the "Pardon My Take" podcast — who was born in New Orleans and was a standout throughout his three-year stint with the LSU Tigers. He's been a standout at times in his NFL career, too, though he only averaged 3.8 yards per carry in his debut season for the Bucs in 2020.

Once the postseason came around, though, a whole different version of Fournette was unleashed.

On Wild Card Weekend, Fournette ran all over the Washington Football Team for 132 total yards and a touchdown, before doubling down on that performance and going for 107 and a score against the Saints in the divisional round. With two 100-yard, one-touchdown performances in the first two games of the playoffs —specifically, Weeks 18 and 19 of the football calendar — he's in some very exclusive company. Below is the full list of players who have accomplished this feat (via Stathead):

Query Results Table
Rk Player Year Tm W L T W-L% Count
1Marcus Allen*1983RAI2001.0002
2Roger Craig1989SFO2001.0002
3Terrell Davis *1997DEN2001.0002
4Arian Foster 2011HOU110.5002
5Arian Foster 2012HOU110.5002
6Leonard Fournette 2020TAM2001.0002
7Natrone Means1996JAX2001.0002
8Wilbert Montgomery1980PHI2001.0002
9John Riggins*1983WAS2001.0002
10Brian Westbrook 2006PHI110.5002
11Ickey Woods1988CIN2001.0002
Provided by Stathead.com: View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 1/18/2021.

Of course, the requirement of playing in a Wild Card game limits the number of players who could have accomplished this feat, but when you look at Fournette's performance through the whole scope of NFL postseason history, it remains impressive. There are only 30 other running backs with two such games throughout a single postseason, including Emmitt Smith, Franco Harris and Marshall Faulk, and it's worth noting that Fournette potentially has two more opportunities remaining. Should he total 100 yards and a touchdown next week, the group of players he'd join is pretty staggering (via Stathead):

Query Results Table
Rk Player Year Tm W L T W-L% Count
1Terrell Davis *1997DEN4001.0004
2Marcus Allen*1983RAI3001.0003
3Roger Craig1989SFO3001.0003
4John Riggins*1982WAS3001.0003
5Emmitt Smith *1992DAL3001.0003
6Thurman Thomas*1990BUF210.6673
Provided by Stathead.com: View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 1/18/2021.

As long as Playoff Lenny is by Tom Brady's side, the Buccaneers won't have to fully rely on the 43-year-old future Hall of Famer entirely. However, going up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for the conference title is no small task, and the Bucs should prepare Brady for a big-time workload as he seeks out his seventh ring.

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