Rodgers gives Falcons' run game needed spark

Dan Parr
Pro Football Weekly
Rodgers gives Falcons' run game needed spark

The Falcons quickly put any speculation that they were ready to abandon their running game to rest Sunday vs. the Bucs. They ran the ball on seven of their first nine plays (eight of 10 if a play that was nullified by an illegal motion penalty is included) vs. the league’s top-ranked run defense and made attacking the edges with scatback Jacquizz Rodgers a big part of their gameplan.

That set off more questions about who should be playing a bigger role at running back in the process.

Rodgers played a season-high 52 percent of the team’s offensive snaps Sunday and had one of the best showings of his career, gaining 152 all-purpose yards (49 rushing, 30 receiving and 73 on kickoff returns).

RB Michael Turner played a season-low 38 percent of the snaps and was held to 17 yards rushing on 13 carries. He has averaged only 1.9 yards per carry in the past three games and has not had a rush longer than 10 yards during that span. Rodgers, who scored his first rushing touchdown of the season vs. the Bucs, had a 20-yard run and a career-long 32-yard catch and run on a screen pass in Sunday’s game, which set up Turner’s game-winning three-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons believe Rodgers is best utilized in a part-time role, so don’t expect a major increase in workload for him coming off his impressive performance. He is certainly making a case for more opportunities when the right matchup presents itself, though.