The Atlanta Falcons began the 2022 campaign with little to no expectations outside the building. Many projected the team to finish with one of the worst records in football, including USA Today’s projection of a No. 1 overall pick. Instead, Arthur Smith’s team established itself as one of the best rushing offenses in the league, remaining competitive in most contests. As we look forward to a pivotal offseason, I’ll continue my series to review the Atlanta Falcons season by position, continuing with the running backs.
Atlanta Falcons 2022 season in review: Running Backs
The Falcons became one of the most potent rushing attacks in football last year, ranking second in yards per game (159.9) and tied for fourth in yards per carry (4.9). It’s a testament to Arthur Smith’s diverse scheme. The Falcons elected to go with a running back by committee approach; below are the position’s top performers:
- Tyler Allgeier stats: 7 starts, 210 attempts, 1,035 yards, 3 TDs, 16 receptions, 139 yards, 1 TD
- Cordarrelle Patterson stats: 11 starts, 144 attempts, 695 yards, 8 TDs, 21 receptions, 122 yards
- Caleb Huntley stats: 0 starts, 76 attempts, 366 yards, 1 TD, 2 receptions, 3 yards
- Avery Williams stats: 3 starts, 22 attempts, 109 yards, 1 TD, 13 receptions, 61 yards
Allgeier should’ve received more recognition for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but I digress. He was recognized as the top rookie runner for the PFWA voting. And rightfully so; look at how he matches up with other highly touted rookie running backs:
Dameon Pierce, Hoston Texans
Stats: 220 carries, 939 rushing yards, 30 catches, 165 receiving yards, 5 total TDs
Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Stats: 228 carries, 1,050 rushing yards, 27 catches, 165 receiving yards, 9 total TDs
Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons
Stats: 210 carries, 1,035 rushing yards, 16 catches, 139 receiving yards, 4 total TDs
The BYU product will surely be one of the featured backs in Atlanta for years to come. In 2023, it’ll likely be Cordarrelle Patterson, who he splits carries with. The veteran missed some time during the season with his IR stint, but he was as effective as ever. It’s clear the touches are taking a toll on his body. If he assumes a supplementary role behind Allgeier, it’ll prolong his health for a potential playoff push.
Caleb Huntley may have had an equally big breakout campaign as Allgeier if he received the same amount of touches and didn’t get hurt. He was incredibly entertaining to watch as a ball carrier, but an Achilles injury could halt his development. Hopefully, he doesn’t lose a step and can return to playing on Sundays.
Avery Williams’ expertise lies in the third phase of the game, but the Falcons loved using the return specialist in some packages. Williams produced efficiently during his time in the backfield, and given his ability as a return man, the Falcons’ goal should just be to get the ball in his hands. He took a massive step in his second season; I can’t wait to see what he does in 2023.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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