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Why the Falcons should unleash all three running backs 

The Falcons had a season-high 228 yards rushing in their Week 12 win over the Saints.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons' rushing three-headed monster is alive and well for the first time this season.

Last Sunday's Week 12 win over the New Orleans Saints saw the Falcons unleash all three of their running backs – Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson. The trio combined for 198 of Atlanta's season-high 228 yards rushing. That's good for 86.8% of the total, while quarterback Desmond Ridder handled the remaining 30 yards on the ground.

Robinson led the way with 91 yards on 16 carries. Allgeier had 64 yards on 10 carries, and Patterson had 43 yards on eight carries.

"Each one of them is special," Falcons offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom said. "It's fun, the energy that has. They just keep building on each other."

That made for the best-shared performance through 11 games. Patterson has been the straggler among the three, solely because he was recovering from a thigh injury at the start of the season. He didn't make a game appearance until Week 4 and didn't receive a carry until Week 6. Meanwhile, Robinson and Allgeier had been taking snaps all along.

The Week 12 marks weren't season highs for any of the players, but they balanced each other better than they had at any other point. That proved more important than any individual success given the Falcons' production in the run game overall.

Let's take a look:

  • Robinson's season-best game so far came in Week 2 when he had 124 yards rushing. Allgeier had 48 yards, which marks his fifth most. Patterson did not play. … The Falcons finished with 211 yards rushing – their second-best total.
  • Allgeier's season-best game so far came in Week 1 when he had 75 yards rushing. Robinson had 56 yards, which marks his sixth most. Patterson did not play. … The Falcons finished with 130 yards rushing – their sixth-best total.
  • Patterson's season-best game so far came in Week 7 when he had 56 yards rushing. Allgeier had 59 yards, which marks his third most. Robinson had 3, his fewest on just one attempt due to illness. … The Falcons finished with 156 yards rushing – their fourth-best total.

With those performances in mind, here's how Week 12 played out: Robinson's 91 yards rushing ranked fourth this season. Allgeier's 64 yards ranked second. Patterson's 43 ranked second. But the Falcons' 228 yards production topped the team chart. And isn't that what matters most?

"Obviously, we love it and it helps us as an offense," Robinson said. "As a defense, you got to see what's going to happen, who's going to come. Because we're trying to roll."

Robinson, Allgeier and Patterson each offer their own strengths from a pure statistics standpoint. Robinson has the best all-around marks, with 141 carries for 703 yards rushing this season. Allgeier ties him for most rushing touchdowns at three. Then Patterson's 4.76 average yards per carry rivals Robinson's 4.98 despite not recording a single touch for the first five games.

"You feel fortunate," Falcons offensive coordinator Dave Ragone said. "They're different styles. They can do different things out the backfield. They provide different ways for us to try to attack a defense. They have different levels of experience.

"You look at a guy like CP, who's kind of been able to do a lot of different things in this league. Bijan, who is obviously coming in as a rookie. And then Allgeier, who gives you that flexibility of he's one of the better tough yards falling forward of the backs that I've been around."

Atlanta currently checks in at No. 4 league-wide in rushing yards per game. The Falcons have a 139.3 average. The Baltimore Ravens are No. 1 with a 158.6 average.

Atlanta is the No. 11 when it comes to rushing yards per play. The Falcons have a 4.35 average. The Miami Dolphins are No. 1 with a 5.47 average.

On the flip side, and looking at this Sunday's opponent for Week 13 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), the New York Jets defense is 31st with average yards rushing per game (140.3) and 18th with average yards rushing per carry (4.23).

"We can't let off the gas," Robinson said. "Yeah, we had a big win (last) Sunday. But we have to forget about that and understand that we're going into another hostile environment that the Jets have. … That's where our mindset needs to be because there have been many times where we win a game and then we'll lose the next week. I don't want to feel that anymore. None of us do."

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