The Seahawks managed to hold Atlanta to just 52 rushing yards in their 26-24 win over the Falcons in October. But their success in slowing running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman on that Sunday afternoon didn’t damper any of the respect they have for the duo they will face again this Saturday in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs.
“They might be the best 1-2 running back combo I’ve played probably in my career,” Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said on Wednesday. “Those two guys are really good together. They complement each other well. They both can do some dangerous things running and catching the ball.”
Wright spent several minutes trying to think of a comparable tandem he’s played against in his six seasons in the league without success.
Freeman managed just 40 yards on 12 carries and Coleman was held to 10 yards on five carries in the first meeting between the two teams. They also didn’t do much in the passing game, combining for just four catches for 17 yards against Seattle. But Wright has a respect for their running ability and how adept they are as pass catchers.
“Jailbreak screens. They run these guys on verticals, running backs screens. They’re just really good out of the backfield. Really shifty guys too. We know that and we just got to make sure that wherever they are on the field you got to be ready for them,” Wright said.
Seattle’s success in limiting Atlanta’s explosive attack was rooted in their ability to keep Freeman and Coleman from hurting them. The Seahawks led the league in allowing the fewest rushing yards per carry this season.