Falcons' two-headed monster wrangles defending Super Bowl champion Broncos

VIDEO: Falcons reactions to beating defending Super Bowl champions

DENVER -- The Atlanta Falcons went into the Denver Broncos' home and crashed the party.

It didn't matter that the Falcons had the league's 30th ranked defense, and it didn't matter that their top-ranked offense was facing a huge test against the one of the best defenses in the NFL, the very defense that led the Broncos to a Super Bowl championship just last season.

The Falcons offense continued to do what it does best: give the ball to just about anyone wearing their jersey, especially running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. The backs combined for 122 rushing yards, and Freeman scored his second touchdown run in as many games to help the team get an early lead.

It was Coleman's 31-yard touchdown catch, his first this season, from Matt Ryan in the third quarter to put the Falcons up 20-3. The Broncos made a late push, but the Falcons were able to hold on at Sports Authority Field to win 23-16.

Coleman had 31 rushing yards on six carries and four catches for 132 yards.

This performance was nothing new for the two backs. They've been rushing, catching passes, blocking and doing just about anything else head coach Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan ask them to do.

"I feel like the good things about us is we can do anything," Freeman said. "It's hard for a defense. They've got to stay honest."

Coleman, who wasn't sure in the week leading up to the game if his sickle cell trait could cause problems in the high altitude and force him to limit his performance, felt good after the game. He said he loves doing all the different things he's called on to do.

"A lot of defenses, they are too concerned with Julio (Jones). They're doubling and tripling Julio. And they forget, we've got monsters on this side to."

Jones, who had a record 300 receiving yards last week against the Carolina Panthers, had just two catches for 29 yards, facing double coverage throughout most of the game. 

There's no winning against the Falcons' offense. When defenses cover Jones, Ryan slings it to his backs or tight ends. And when they leave him in single coverage, he makes you pay for it. Just ask cornerback Bene Benwikere who was let go by the Panthers this week after getting torched by Jones. 

"We have great wide receivers and great respect for what they do, but we felt like our best match-up was getting our backs out of the backfield. We've got two really talented guys. There's not many guys in this league that can run the football, pass protest and push out and run routes like wide receivers. And we've got two of them," Ryan said.

Ryan is equally responsible for the Falcons' four-game winning streak, and he is frequently mentioned in MVP discussions. He completed 15-of-28 passes for 267 yards Sunday. 

Quinn was pleased with all facets of his team. His defense handled Paxton Lynch, who was making his first NFL start. They held the Broncos to 267 total offensive yards, and Ricardo Allen nabbed an interception off Lynch. The defense also had six sacks and eight total quarterback hits. Vic Beasley had 3.5 sacks, the best performance of his young career.

"When you have those kind of performances, where each hand has a part in the win, that's certainly when we're at our best," Quinn said.

But even Quinn had to admit, Coleman and Freeman were pretty spectacular in the mile-high city.

"The running backs really stole the show today."

The Falcons jumped out to a 5-0 start last season before finishing 8-8, so they are cautiously optimistic with the 4-1 start. They will stay out west this week to prepare for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. 

Freeman knows how tough Sunday's game will be, but he says he and the rest of the team will be riding off some extra confidence.

"We beat the defending Super Bowl champions," he said.

PHOTOS | Falcons vs. Broncos


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment