FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Redskins’ defense saw firsthand the challenges the Falcons’ offense presents when they have both their run game and pass game clicking on all cylinders.
Until Sunday’s performance, the Falcons had struggled to get their rushing attack going to the level they expect. Atlanta’s ability to run the ball is a huge part of what the offense is predicated on. Against the Redskins, Atlanta rushed for 154 yards, their second-highest total of the season.
Here’s a look at the Falcons’ rushing totals on the year:
• Week 1: 74 yards
• Week 2: 170 yards
• Week 3: 48 yards
• Week 4: 92 yards
• Week 5: 62 yards
• Week 6: 70 yards
• Week 7: 67 yards
Running back Tevin Coleman had 88 of those yards on 13 carries and rookie Ito Smith rushed for 60 yards on 10 carries and the lone rushing touchdown of the game.
"Ito’s [Smith] run for a touchdown was awesome," Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. “To see that, it was impressive. I was able to watch it from behind and I didn’t think he was scoring at first, but then he just kept going. It was cool to watch. He’s a guy that continues to get better every time he touches the ball and every time he plays. That’s good for us, that’s huge for us. There was a commitment to spreading them out and keeping them off balance. I think our run game, it kind of got going in the second quarter and then kept going through the remainder of the game. I thought it was a really good plan and really good execution by our offensive line and our running backs."
What changed against the Redskins, a team that entered Sunday’s game with one of the league’s top units against the run?
“It wasn’t necessarily a concept that changed but doing what we do better,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said.
The bye week allowed Quinn to dive into specific areas where he wanted to see improvement in and the line of scrimmage was at the front. Keeping this level of performance in the run game will be key for the Falcons as they continue on this season.
According to Quinn, that all starts with stressing the importance of fundamentals, each and every day.
“It more came down to fundamentals,” Quinn said. “It will be a challenge every week to get there but it’s worth the fight to do it because the play-action that comes with that, the toughness that comes with that those are impactful moments. By no stretch do we have the run game cornered after one week, but it is good to see and the confidence that is there knowing the system and the way we’re going after it is right.”