Buffalo Bills’ All-Time Rushing Yardage Leaders
The Bills have been around since 1960 with the AFL and merged into the NFL in 1970 with the other AFL teams. They have been a solidly run franchise for all of those years, but have come up empty in four Super Bowl appearances. The Bills have also fielded some great running backs, and here is a list of the team’s all-time Top 10 in rushing yards:
Thurman Thomas (11,938)—Thurman Thomas is a Hall of Fame running back and was a big part of those great Bills teams of the 1990’s. Thomas also leads the franchise all-time with 11,938 rushing yards, and also had 456 receiving yards with Buffalo. Thomas played for the Bills from 1988 to 1999 before finishing his career in Miami, and his best season in Buffalo was 1992, one of five Pro Bowl seasons for Thurman. That season, Thomas rushed for a career best 1487 yards with 9 touchdowns, added 58 receptions for 626 yards and 3 more TDs.
O.J. Simpson (10,183)—Though he currently is serving prison time and is more notorious for what he’s done off the football field in the last decade and a half, O.J. Simpson was a heck of a football player. Simpson played in Buffalo most of his career, from 1969 to 1977 and ranks second in team history with 10,183 rushing yards. Simpson was a first team All Pro five times, including 1973. That year, Simpson rushed for what was an NFL record 2003 yards with 12 touchdowns, and added 70 yards as a receiver. However, Simpson’s best overall season was 1975, with a career high of 2243 yards from scrimmage and 23 total TDs.
Joe Cribbs (4445)—Joe Cribbs played for Buffalo from 1980 to 1985 and ranks third in the Bills’ history with 4445 rushing yards. Cribbs’ best season in Buffalo was 1980, one of three Pro Bowl seasons, when he rushed for a career high 1185 yards with 11 TDs (also career best) and added 52 catches for 415 yards and one more touchdown out of the backfield.
Travis Henry (3849)—Travis Henry only played for Buffalo from 2001 to 2004, but in a short time racked up 3849 yards rushing, which ranks him fourth in Bills’ history. Henry’s best season was in Buffalo, 2002, when he made the Pro Bowl. That year, Henry rushed for career highs in yards (1438), rushing touchdowns (13), receptions (43), receiving yards (309) with one receiving TD.
Wray Carlton (3368)—Wray Carlton played for Buffalo from 1960 to 1967 and ranks fifth among Bills’ all-time running backs with 3368 rushing yards. Carlton was mostly a fullback who played in 87 games, none as a starter, which makes his numbers that much more remarkable. Carlton had a career high 696 rushing yards in 1966, but his best overall season was 1960. That year, Carlton had 1010 yards from scrimmage and 11 total TDs, both of which were career bests.
Willis McGahee (3365)—Willis McGahee only played in Buffalo from 2004 to 2006, yet he ranks sixth in franchise history with 3368 rushing yards. McGahee rushed for a career high 1247 yards in 2005, but his best overall season was probably 2004, when he rushed for 1128 yards with a career high 13 touchdowns.
Cookie Gilchrist (3056)—Cookie Gilchrist was with Buffalo from 1962 to 1964 and made the Pro Bowl (twice first team All Pro) all three seasons. Gilchrist ranks seventh in Bills’ history with 3056 rushing yards, and his best season in Buffalo was 1962, when he rushed for career highs in yards (1096), rushing TDs (13), and added 319 yards and two more touchdowns as a receiver.
Antowain Smith (2932)—Antowain Smith was with Buffalo from 1997 to 2000, and ranks eighth in team history with 2932 rushing yards. Smith’s best season in Buffalo was 1998, when he rushed for 1124 yards with 8 touchdowns.
Jim Braxton (2842)—Jim Braxton played for Buffalo from 1971 to 1978 and ranks ninth in franchise history with 2842 rushing yards. Braxton’s best season was 1975, when he had career high numbers in rushing yards (823), rushing TDs (9), adding 282 yards and 4 more touchdowns out of the backfield.
Kenneth Davis (2460)—Kenneth Davis was with Buffalo from 1989 to 1994, mostly as a backup to Thurman Thomas. Davis does rank tenth in Bills’ history, though, with 2460 rushing yards. His best season with the Bills was 1991, when he rushed for a career high 624 yards with four touchdowns, and added 20 catches for 118 yards and 1 more TD as a receiver.