First off, I know it's been just two games; I know. But, c'mon folks, how awesome has Turner been? Like pundits, many of us have fooled ourselves into the "Michael Turner is too _____ (fat, slow, old, worn down)" paradigm that permeates football talk (or should I say cliche?). Thus far this season, Turner has looked incredible, and, arguably, has been the best player on the Falcons.
Photo by David Maialetti via media.philly.com
Against CHI all Michael did was run for an even hundred with 10 carries. For some proper perspective, this past week 'Aints RBs Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram only managed to combine to rush for 92 yards off 23 against the Bears DEF that was sitting on the pass (though unsuccessfully -- looking at your Major Wright). Sure, but where's this increased burn you speak of? You might be asking. Well how about 3 receptions for 40 yards? That reception yardage total put him above Snelling (even with 2 more receptions), 'Quizz, and HD. What, not enough? Let's look at what he pulled off in the Dome on Sunday.
Against the Eagles, Michael ran for 114 yards on 21 attempts (5.4 y/a), and added a critical 32 yard reception. That reception yardage total was second only to the ageless TG. Let's not forget that deciding TD run where Clabo practically whiffed on this block though Turner still easily made it to the endzone (pictured above).
So, two games in Michael Turner has produced the boner-inducing stat line of:
214 Yards on 31 Attempts (6.9 y/a); 4 receptions for 72 yards (18 y/r)!
To break that down a bit: Although the 6.9 is surely unsustainable, it is currently his highest y/a. Turner already has a third of the receptions he accrued last year (12) and only 13 fewer reception yards (85). Turner is on pace to shatter those career highs. He has already produced his longest run (61 yards) since 2008 (70 yards), and it is the longest run in the NFL this season so far. His 32 yard reception against Philly is also his career best, and he already has two receptions at or over 20 yards. That's truly impressive because he hadn't had a single 20 yard reception since being in San Diego in 2006!
So, in the future, don't immediately boo or cuss when you see Turner get the ball for a 2 yard gain up the middle. Often times they are setting up the DEF for a future run (as was the case in the PHI game), or someone is missing a block. As we've seen in both games so far this season, Michael Turner is a critical part if this offense is going to be explosive.
Please discuss your love of Turner or feel free to call me an unabashed Turner-lover.