Only once last season did Michael Turner run for fewer yards than he did in Sunday's win over the Chiefs.
On 11 carries he ran for 32 yards, but the offense was dynamic, scoring on their first eight possessions of the game and totaling 40 points. In the past Turner's enjoyed a steady stream of handoffs in Atlanta's offense, allowing him to get into a rhythm and break off big runs as the game goes on. He understands that might not be the case now.
"That's what I've been used to the last couple of years," Turner said on Thursday. "Now I've just got to take advantage of the opportunities that I get on the field. Ten, 20, 30, I've got to be ready for each carry."
The points came against the Chiefs and no one will ever know if the passing attack took advantage of a Chiefs defense keyed on stopping the run. A win is a win and no one in the locker room is worried about the Falcons' running game and establishing the run will continue to be a priority.
"I don't think it's a concern for us," center Todd McClure said. "It's something that every week we want to go out and establish. We've got the guys to have a really powerful running game. It'll make our passing game that much better if we can get the running game our playaction stuff opens up down field with the playmakers we have on the edge."
Against the Broncos and the always-dangerous Peyton Manning, keeping the ball away could provide an advantage. Running the ball is one way to gain an edge in keep away.
"Especially when you've got a great quarterback on the other side like Peyton Manning," Turner said. "(We want to) control the clock, control the tempo of the game. Hopefully, we can keep them off the field as much as possible and at the same time score touchdowns. You don't want to keep that guy within reach of you."
Keeping the ball out of Manning's hand is always a piece of the puzzle in beating him. After all, an offense can only possess the ball so long. Eventually Manning will get on the field. Last week against the Steelers, the Broncos lost the time of possession battle by more than 10 minutes, but won by 12.
Running the ball helps control the clock, always a goal of the Falcons, but the order of importance still starts with scoring points. Against the Broncos, that won't change, Manning or not.
"(Controlling the clock is) really important," McClure said. "We talk about it every week, our number one goal is we don't want to have turnovers and we want to lead the time of possession. I think if we can go do that, our chances will be good. ...The bottom line is you've just got to score more points than them."