Atlanta Falcons: Run Game Needs to Wake Up
The Atlanta Falcons once again exhibited their inability to run the ball as the offensive line seemed more like a revolving door by allowing defenders to make plays in the backfield. As Matt Ryan attempted an astonishing 60-plus passes against the Arizona Cardinals, the Falcons’ ground game needs to wake up from their coma or else Mattie Ice will be joining them real soon.
Just a weekend ago against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Falcons rushed the ball 18 times for 18 yards that even made Michael Turner squeal from his couch at home.
Against the Cardinals, the Falcons’ fortune seemed to finally turn around a little bit in their favor, as Steven Jackson would finally suit up after missing four straight games with a hamstring injury. Instead of Jackson rallying his troops and instilling hope in the running game, his performance sealed their fate that day and seemed to turn their ground game into the graveyard.
On that day, the Falcons outdid their worst rushing effort by gaining only 27 rushing yards on 14 attempts. Although the Cardinals’ defense is considered to be a stingy group, it made them look like an elite defensive unit that barricaded every attempt the Falcons threw at them.
Despite Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling failing to keep a balanced attack ever since they had their best rushing day in Week 3. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter mentioned that the big men up front has to do a better job of blocking and giving their backs a chance to run the ball in the first place.
Currently, the Falcons are the worst rushing team in the NFL and will be facing a Carolina Panthers team that possesses the second-best rushing defense in the league. If Koetter is forced to have Ryan throw until his arms simply falls off, the Falcons will be in for a long game and Mattie Ice may not even last until the final buzzer sounds.
The Falcons’ run game needs to wake up from their slumber and get their rushing attack on track. At this point, it doesn’t matter if Koetter has to dial up 30 rushing attempts for 30 yards, because it is a must. With a defense that is ready to pin their ears back and ready to rip Ryan apart, Jackson will need to get something going to help protect the one player that has the ability to keep them competitive in any game for the remainder of their disappointing season.
Whatever it takes, whether it is getting hammered by Thor or getting critiqued by Simon Cowell, they need to be determined and will their team into having success on the ground. Should they fail, the Falcons will be in line for another rude awakening that could be more costly than just another L.