The Falcons running back dashed for a career-high 145 rushing yards and one touchdown on 11 carries, a whopping 13.2 yards per carry.
“It was just a lot energy out there,” Coleman said, via the team’s official website. “The guys came out with energy, I came out with energy. They got on their blocks, they made big holes for me.”
Taking advantage of a Cardinals run defense ranked tied for 29th in the NFL entering Sunday, Coleman generated chunk gains, earning his second 100-yard game this season. The day would have been even bigger for Coleman had another 40-plus-yard touchdown run not been nullified by a blocking penalty. For a Falconsteam averaging a league-low 81.2 rushing yards per game, the fourth-year back’s performance was a reminder of the type of runner Coleman can be when the offensive line isn’t struggling to open holes.
“I mean, he’s an amazing running back,” wide receiver Julio Jones said, via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but he’s one of the best backs in the league, by far. His speed, his vision, everything about him.”
Coleman is playing out the final year of his rookie contract, with Atlanta already paying Devonta Freeman big-RB money, and Ito Smith as a potential backup, most expect Coleman to hit the free agent market this offseason.
Games like Sunday are a reminder of what the Falcons offense would be losing if that eventuality occurs.
“Yeah, I’d like to see Tevin [back],” Jones said. “But, you know, I don’t make those decisions.”
The men who make those decisions chose to pay Freeman last season.
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