A pair of rookies are helping the Falcons survive Cordarrelle Patterson’s absence

When Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson went down with a knee injury in Week 4, there was concern about how to replace such a dynamic playmaker in what was becoming a flexible and shifty offense for the Dirty Birds.

What they have found in the search to replace his production, however, is two rookies who have changed the way they play ball.

Running backs Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley have stepped up in a big way for the Falcons, helping to pave their road to success after a nail-biter of a win against the Carolina Panthers that put them atop the NFC South. Both rookies have spearheaded an Atlanta attack that has now become a run-first offense, utilizing their backs in a variety of schemes and formations, and even deploying them as primary weapons in the passing game.

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Allgeier has been particularly impressive out of the backfield, catching five passes for 71 yards, including an incredible 25-yard catch-and-run where he burst past multiple Panthers defenders before heading into the end zone late in the third quarter. Huntley has assumed the role of power back, and at 5-10 and 230 pounds, he’s excellent working between the tackles. Huntley could be the Falcons long-term short-yardage back, given what he’s shown so far this season.

This development lends credence to the notion of finding effective running backs outside of the early rounds. There also needs to be credit given to the Falcons’ coaching and front office staff for finding diamonds in the rough on Day 3 and after the draft, understanding how to most effectively use a pair of rookies to completely transform an offense with a star like Patterson out of the lineup.

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Story originally appeared on Draft Wire