The Falcons have a number of problems on offense lately, but their lack of balance from their run game is the most recent.
They managed just four rushing attempts in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, and were never behind by more than 10. Part of that has to do with the Panthers’ top-ranked defense, but the Falcons still had just 18 carries for 53 yards on the day, and were conspicuously bad in short yardage. Devonta Freeman finished with 11 carries for 46 yards, including a 20-yarder. Tevin Coleman rushed five times for 5 yards.
“I guess we didn’t click,” Freeman said, via Matt Winkeljohn of the Atlanta Journal-Constutition. “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board, figure out what we need to do to win, and win.”
Again, the Panthers lead the league in total defense and are second against the run, so a degree of that is to be expected. But the Falcons have regressed as well, and are 13th in the league in rushing (114.5 yards per game), and 20th in attempts per game. There was also more of a pass-protection burden on their backfield, as the Panthers are blitzing more than they have in the past.
“I really trust our group,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “We’ve been good in the run game and yesterday it wasn’t the production that we would like.”
That extends to a lot of things with the Falcons this year, as they search for the reasons they’re unable to do the things they did a year ago with the same personnel on the field.