ATLANTA – You've heard Falcons coach Dan Quinn talk about how important establishing the run game is to their offense.
And on Saturday night in Los Angeles it was vital, especially going up against a Rams defensive front that features Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
"Their rushers are that talented where we didn't want to make it into a drop-back game," Quinn said following the game. "We thought there would be some more space early on in the run game, but there wasn't. But, we knew we were going to stay committed to it as part of our plan, and it certainly came through in the second half."
The Falcons struggled to get the run game going in the first half. They walked into the locker room with just 53 yards on 12 attempts between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
Not being able to establish the run made it hard for the Falcons to establish any rhythm offensively. Matt Ryan was under pressure on almost every snap and had little time to make anything happen.
That was going to need to change for the Falcons to build on their 13-10 lead at the half. The good news for the Falcons was they would begin the second half with the ball.
And they took full advantage of it with a 8:15 minute drive that included 11 run plays.
"Our ability to run the ball in the second half was really big in terms of [building] momentum," Falcons center Alex Mack said. "We just wanted to get back to into doing what we do well. We were able to do better on first and second down to build drives together. We were able to establish our tempo and tire them out."
The Falcons finished the game with 124 total rushing yards, 71 of them coming in the second half. Quinn often talks about the balance that he wants in his offense and you can see why.
Atlanta had 39 rushes to 30 pass plays – a game plan he commended his offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian for.
"I thought offensively, Sark and Chris Morgan (Falcons offensive line coach) and the guys really had a good plan of how to go about it," Quinn said. "There were some really physical runs by our backs."
We really wanted to create some space in the run game and we thought that would be a real factor for us, so not only can we advance and play on some of the third downs and short yardage, but that would also open up some of the play action for us. So, we were going to be really committed to it."