Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons running back duo continue to be a strength

11 August 2016: Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (26) rushes in first half action of the Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)
Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

Devonta Freeman broke out last season, and Tevin Coleman is doing more of the same for the 4-1 Atlanta Falcons here in 2016.

This past week, a 23-16 win at Denver proved that the two-headed backfield can do more than just run the ball. Freeman totaled 123 yards and a touchdown on 26 touches while Coleman had 163 yards and a receiving score on only 10 touches.

In fact, the only other players besides Julio Jones to finish as the team’s leading receiver this season have come out of the backfield. Coleman did it in Week 1 with 95 yards through the air and again last week while Freeman was the team’s leading receiver in Week 3 in New Orleans.

These are two different types of running backs. Freeman is a bruiser at 5-foot-8, 206 lbs. The 2014 fourth-rounder has scored a touchdown in three straight games. Freeman has topped the 100-yard mark in two games and totaled 90 plus in another.

As for Coleman, the 6-foot-1, 210 lbs. is a speedster. He adds a new dimension to this offense with Jones, Momahed Sanu and Freeman drawing a lot of attention. On Sunday, the second-year back from Indiana had a 31-yard touchdown catch and catches of 49 and 48 yards. He looks good matching up in coverage against linebackers and he’ll continue to make plays with Jones being the focus of opposing defenses.

Coleman has two 100-plus yard games and he’s contributed much in others including five total touchdowns already.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been playing lights out this season and he’s pleased to have a versatile offense highlighted by his two backs Freeman and Coleman.

Ryan told Falcons.com that “there aren’t many guys in this league that can run the football, pass protect and then motion out and run routes like wide receivers and we have two of them.”

The sky is the limit for this offense that is averaging 35 points per game and has topped the 40 point mark in two of the last three weeks. Freeman did it all for the Falcons last season with over 1,600 total yards and 14 touchdowns. With Coleman mixing in, it’s all about making it work. So far, so good.

“We’re just now putting all those pieces together and putting everybody in position,ďż˝? Freeman told Falcons.com. “Everybody is learning their role. I definitely feel like everybody is learning their role. The coaches really understand us and what we can do. I definitely think we’re the best in the league right now.”

For Atlanta, not only has second-year offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan done a fine job of drawing up plays calls, but the players are executing. Ryan is being protected well and completing passes at a high percentage. Freeman is pounding the rock while Coleman burns pass defenders for big chunks.

Jones and Sanu are working very well together and undersized playmakers Aldrick Robinson and Taylor Gabriel have made plays when they have been called upon. Also, tight ends Jacobs Tamme and Austin Hooper can’t be ignored.

Every week, the Falcons have an advantage on offense with playmakers all around. It starts with Jones, but with Freeman and Coleman being used as chess pieces, they take a lot of the pressure off of Ryan. This team should continue to succeed as long as health stays on their side.

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