Keidel: Falcons, Patriots Running Games Always Overshadowed, Rarely Overmatched


By Jason Keidel
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The pyrotechnic passing offenses on this Tremendous Bowl completely characterize the period that spawned them. The Atlanta Falcons simply scored probably the most factors within the NFL this season. And it’s no coincidence that they and their opponent, the New England Patriots, led the league in scoring margin.

However for all of the aerial splendor, one thing units it up. One other dynamic makes the passing recreation potential. And, regardless of the game bending the principles so closely in favor of throwing the soccer, operating with the rock nonetheless works.

Should you want proof that even the Patriots, with Tom Brady’s ageless arm, want a dashing assault, think about this thoughts-bending stat: The Patriots are sixteen-zero during the last two years when utility again Dion Lewis performs.

And you needn’t be an Atlantan to know the worth of dashing. Devonta Freeman set the game on hearth final season, bringing Falcons followers and fantasy house owners to their respective ft. And whereas Freeman wasn’t a secret this season, he nonetheless rushed for over 1,000 yards and a quite strong eleven touchdowns.

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Excellent news for Falcons followers is 12 of Freeman’s 14 complete scores got here at residence, within the Georgia Dome. And NRG Stadium, the location of Sunday’s recreation, is actually a dome, on the quick monitor that favors the operating again.

Devonta Freeman

The Falcons’ Devonta Freeman runs the ball towards the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 1, 2017, on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Photograph by Maddie Meyer/Getty Pictures)

Positive, the Falcons (357.5 yards per recreation) and Patriots (326.5 YPG) led their respective conferences in playoff passing yards. However they didn’t begin their seasons in January. Certainly, the Falcons have been fifth within the NFL, with one hundred twenty.5 dashing yards per recreation, whereas the Patriots have been proper behind them, with 117 yards on the bottom per recreation, seventh within the league.

It might shock you to know that New England was third within the NFL with 30.2 dashing makes an attempt per recreation. The Falcons have been tied for third in dashing touchdowns, with 20, whereas the Pats, once more, have been a nostril behind, with 19.  The Pats and Falcons have been sixth and seventh, respectively, in dashing first downs. And the Falcons have been fourth in yards per carry, at four.6

Since we so glorify passing and, by extension, quarterback play — and also you gained’t discover two extra prolific passers than Tom Brady and Matt Ryan — we naturally ignore, or at the least overlook, the lads lined up a number of yards behind them.

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