As a superfan of the Matt Ryan/Mike Smith era, I watched every game Michael Turner played in for the Atlanta Falcons. He had some awesome games for them, especially in his first two years. The sad fact, though, is that he was probably the least clutch elite running back of all time. It was like he kept a special pair of lead shoes in his locker for tough opponents, and if it was a road game, he’d add a thick coat of molasses to boot (pun originally not intended).
It was like he wasn’t even the same player. He would take twice as long to hit the hole, and by that time, there was no more hole to hit. He would carry three linemen for about a yard before they all fell over in unison, nice and soft.
Most Atlantans had no idea, though. They were too enamored with the way he beat up on the crap teams, especially the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers, fellow NFC South foes, and it was a lot of crap for the most part during the totality of Turner’s tenure (alliteration intended — it’s a sad story).
Another lie Atlantans bought into was that he was the type of back who needed 25-plus carries per game “to get going.” It was something he repeated often because stats never lie, right? Well, the other sad fact was that Turner only got that many carries when the Dirty Birds had a touchdown or more lead in the second half, and it was his job to run out the clock. This was the other way he padded his statistics because he always seemed to break free for a long run when the opponent was already beaten.
In essence, his importance to the team was all just a lie, and they’re now much better off with Steven Jackson.