The Falcons may have had trouble running the ball during their season opener, but that adversity didn't stop Tevin Coleman from being a force on offense.
The second-year running back proved to be a reliable target for Matt Ryan, catching five passes for 95 yards — a team-high. His biggest highlight of the contest, a 59-yard reception in the second quarter, showed how explosive he can be when he hits a second gear.
And it showed how polished his receiving skills are: The throw was off-target, but Coleman was able to turn against his momentum, make a tough grab near the right sideline and streak downfield.
"I thought Tevin did a nice job for us, specifically catching the ball out of the backfield," Ryan said. "He made a great catch on a play we had going down our sideline. He showcased just how athletic he is, his skill set. I think both those guys (Coleman and Freeman) are going to continue to do great things for us this year. Devonta and Tevin are two really talented players."
In total, the Falcons gained just 52 rushing yards, a 2.4 average. By contributing in passing situations, Coleman and Freeman — who tallied four catches of his own for 20 yards — were able to remain effective on a day when the ground game wasn't clicking.
"Both of the backs, we know they're a factor (as receivers)," head coach Dan Quinn said. "It was good to see them utilized in that way as well. If they're going to be up on the line of scrimmage for some of the run game to be stopped, they better be a factor in the pass game, and they both certainly were. Tevin … he made a very nice catch on a screen way behind him. That's exactly the type of plays we expect him to make."