ATLANTA – All signs pointed to a breakout performance for the Falcons offense on Sunday and that's exactly what happened at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Atlanta's offense got rolling in the second quarter and the unit didn't slow down for the remainder of the game. The Falcons put up 336 total yards of offense (204 passing, 132 rushing) and three touchdowns.
After losing Devonta Freeman on the first offensive drive of the game with a concussion, Tevin Coleman would get majority of the carries.
Coleman relished in the opportunity.
The running back rushed for 83 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. But even more importantly, his explosive runs came at pivotal times for the Falcons offense.
Coleman's 19-yard run on second down with 4:15 left in the second quarter gave the Falcons a first down and momentum they needed going into the two-minute warning. And he finished the drive off when he ran for 1-yard touchdown giving his team the lead heading into the half.
The Falcons would then get the ball to start the second quarter and they cashed in on their opportunity – something the offense had yet to do as they had previously been held scoreless in the third quarter.
With 2:29 on the clock in the third quarter, Matt Ryan found wide receiver Taylor Gabriel for gain of 34 yards, ultimately helping the Falcons get their second touchdown of the day, a 1-yard pass from Ryan to tight end Austin Hooper.
Gabriel finished the day as the Falcons' leading receiver with 58 yards.
"We totally count on those guys, and to put the guys in the roles that they can be featured best," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of the play of Coleman and Gabriel. "I thought Gabe [Taylor Gabriel] was one today that really showed excellent consistency on his part. When his opportunity comes, we've got to nail it. I thought Matt [Ryan] did a really nice job distributing it to the right guys at the right spots. They've got a physical team with good pass rushers certainly on their defense, and we knew that was going to be a challenge coming in, and it was. For the guys to answer, especially it was hard going in the run game early, but we knew we had to stick with it for our play action to be a factor in the game."
Ryan echoed a similar sentiment following the game crediting the play of Gabriel and Coleman.
"With Devonta going down early, it was an opportunity for Tevin to step up," Ryan said. "He's so talented and tough. He played extremely well for us. [Taylor Gabriel] made a ton of plays for us. He's so explosive and that showed up today.
"With Devonta going down early, it was an opportunity for Tevin to step up," Ryan said. "He's so talented and tough. He played extremely well for us. [Taylor Gabriel] made a ton of plays for us. He's so explosive and that showed up today."