The 2009 Chargers were a proficient passing team and a poor rushing team. Football Outsiders reviews how teams heaviest on the pass and lightest on the run fare. The answer is pretty good.
You’ll notice that there’s nothing wrong with having a great passing game and a mediocre running game. Every team on this list except the 2008 Chargers had a winning record. The team with a losing record and the biggest gap between passing and rushing was the 2005 Arizona Cardinals (5-11) who had 10.4% DVOA passing (15th) but -30.3% rushing (32nd).
Here’s the other side of the coin, the teams where the running game was far superior to the passing game. You’ll notice that these teams, with the exception of the 2004 Falcons, all have losing records — but part of that is the fact that being better at running the ball doesn’t necessarily mean you are great at running the ball.
I post this as an Eagles fan because a big debate here in Philly is whether or not the Eagles can win when they run as little as they do (historically under coach Andy Reid its been a 60-40 pass-run ratio). The real fact of the matter is that the Eagles are a productive run team, when they choose to run. And yes they can win passing a lot more than they run (the charts from Football Outsiders are about the efficiency of the run game, not the frequency). The real problem, even the most rational Eagles fans have, is the offensive coaching staff’s seeming unwillingness to run in certain short yardage situations. Some of that changed for a bit last season with the usage of Leonard Weaver and Eldra Buckley as short yardage options. We’ll see what happens going into next season.