Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has been a cornerstone of their offense. If Atlanta wants to win Super Bowl 51, they must use him in chunks.
Have the Atlanta Falcons found their long term running back in Devonta Freeman? it sure looks as if they have. In his third year, Freeman started all 16 games and rushed for over 1,000 yards for a second straight season. Now, he looks to be more productive in Super Bowl 51; something the Falcons so desperately need from Freeman.
During the regular season, Freeman was both efficient in the running and passing game. Joining him, though, is Tevin Coleman. The sophomore had served as the perfect sidekick to Freeman, as he posted 520 yards on the ground and 421 receiving. Although they serve as the best running back duo in the NFL, Freeman has taken the backseat throughout the NFL Playoffs.
Throughout the playoffs, Freeman has only one more rushing yard (87) than Coleman (86) and has done it on six more carries (28). Atlanta hasn’t needed much of a run game in order to win their previous playoff games. Their offense was ranked first in the league because of quarterback Matt Ryan and his 38 touchdown passes. They have done much of the same so far, establishing the passing game and refusing to take their foot off the pedal.
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How Atlanta needs to utilize Freeman
Freeman is a speedy dual-threat running back and is powerful as well. The Falcons will be going against a hard-hitting Patriots defense, and need to show that they aren’t afraid to run the football. If Freeman is as great as he’s been playing all season, then he will be able to break down the league’s fourth-best run defense.
Being efficient against top run defenses hasn’t been Freeman’s strong suit. Against Seattle both in the regular and postseason, he put up 40 and 45 yards rushing. He only went over 80 yards in five games; two of which were against the Saints.
Keep Freeman where he is most productive: on the field. It’s not often you see a top rusher in the league produce 1,000 yard seasons with just five games of more than 15 carries. When Freeman is on the field, he is a monster. I understand that Tevin Coleman adds another threat in the passing game, but Atlanta has to hit New England with a bit of a surprise. They are going against a strong secondary, and are going to have to rely on the ground game.
Devonta Freeman can very well be the deciding factor for the Falcons in Super Bowl 51. If Atlanta finally decides to let him do what he does best and run the football, then they can find success and possibly bring home their first Lombardi Trophy.
If Atlanta continues to shy away from the run game and rely on the passing game against a superior secondary, they will find it to be a little too late by the time they call Freeman’s number. It’s not a matter of pick your poison for Atlanta, it’s a matter of letting a core part of your team do his job.