The stat sheet may not show it and, in the end, the Falcons lost so not many may want to pay attention, but Jacquizz Rodgers continues to impress in the limited touches he's received in the Falcons offense.
Rodgers ended Sunday with 62 all-purpose yards, 29 on the ground and 33 in the air. The second-year running back only rushed three times, his final rush of the game coming in the fourth quarter for an 18-yard gain.
The 18-yard gain, and a reception for 14 yards, made Rodgers one of the key figures in Atlanta's comeback attempt late in the game.
On their next-to-last possession, down by four, Rodgers caught a one-yard pass from Matt Ryan on a third-and-3 situation and turned it into a 14-yard gain. Five plays later he took a first-down handoff and rushed for 18 yards.
His three rushes for 29 yards gave Rodgers a 9.7 yards-per-carry average. It was the third week in a row he's had a play go for 15 yards or more. Against the Eagles he had a 43-yard rush and against the Cowboys a 53-yard gain.
With the Saints loading up to stop Michael Turner, Rodgers was valuable late in the game, as he has been all season. Turner was only able to gain 15 yards rushing and Rodgers picked up the slack with his three rushes and adding even more offense with his pass catching out of the backfield.
Rodgers has continued to show this season he's able to make positive yards when the ball is in his hands. In the second quarter on a screen pass to him, he turned what could have been a five-yard loss into a six-yard gain, though it only amounted to one positive yard in down and distance. His ability to make players miss is one of his key attributes and on Sunday, as he's shown recently, his open-field elusiveness is tough to contend with.
On his 18-yard run, he used a stop move that caused a defender to run right by him. Standing still in the field as the defender went by, Rodgers started up again, gaining a few more yards on the run to get the Falcons deeper into Saints territory.
Sunday marks the fourth straight game Rodgers has had at least three rushing attempts and four receptions. What he does with the ball in his hands is usually positive and he's making a case for a bigger role in the Falcons offense over the final seven weeks of the season.