ATLANTA – Following Sunday's victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, head coach Arthur Smith said that he always thought the team that ran better today was going to win and that proved true against the Cleveland Browns.
The Falcons outran a run-heavy Browns team 202 yards to 177 yards with rookie running back Tyler Allgeier leading the pack with 84 yards on 10 carries.
"We all just strapped up our helmets and just went to work," Allgeier said after the game. "I think their defensive line wasn't ready for what we were ready to give them, so we ended up just pounding the rock at the end."
Late in the third quarter, the Falcons found their rhythm on the ground which turned into a nightmare for the Browns defense after going on a 10 play 75-yard drive with no passes attempted.
Caleb Huntley, the first-year running back who was elevated for the second time this season, played a vital role in the Falcons running game success against Cleveland.
"When the line is running like that, that's what you call being in a flow," Smith said. "We knew it was going to be a big boy fight."
Atlanta started on their own 25-yard line with three minutes to go in the third quarter. Huntley found his footing after running the ball five straight times for 38 yards with his longest carry being a 14-yard run that gave Atlanta's offense the surge it needed to win the game.
Allgeier rotated back in, contributing two crucial back-to-back carries for 21 yards that setup Atlanta in the redzone on Cleveland's 16-yard line. Huntley answered right back after muscling his way for 16 yards on three carries, earning his first career touchdown.
"When I went in first play, I already had that chip on my shoulder to do whatever I needed to do get the team on the right foot," Huntley said. "Like I said before, we were kind of stifled but once I got in, I was like 'okay, let's go. We got to do this, we got to get this dub' and after those couple of runs, I just got happy and stayed with it."
Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns during Week 4.
All week, the sentiment about the Falcons offensive line setting the tone was crucial for a win against the Browns. The Falcons have a top-10 offensive line in 2022, with an overall offensive grade at 72.4, according to PFF.
Through the last two games, the Falcons have rushed for 381 total yards on 66 carries which has been the x-factor in securing their first two wins of the season. On Sunday, we seen the Falcons offense play a complete game which was a struggle earlier in the season. Carrying that momentum throughout the rest of this year will be key moving forward.
"Really there was just belief in the huddle and as soon as you start stacking those it's easier," veteran guard Chris Lindstrom said. "Every single guy really had faith in what we were doing and came out and really attacked."