Michael Turner carried the ball 84 times for 357 yards and three touchdowns. At his current pace he's set to finish the 2012 regular season with 224 touches and 952 yards. Can he manage that extra 50 yards, though, to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the third season in a row?
When you look at his body of work over the first six games, he's only finished two weeks with an impressive YPC, and only one with over 100 yards. Against San Diego he compiled 80 yards and a touchdown on 14 touches, making us think he might actually possess more tread on the tires than we previously believed.
His 103 yards and 7.9 YPC against Carolina in Week 4 only further convinced us he could still evade defenders and rack up yards like The Burner of old. While Carolina's run defense is, well, awful, it was still quite a display.
Overall, though, he's only averaging 59.5 yards per game. Matt Ryan doesn't seem to mind throwing the ball over and over, but eventually the lack of balance is going to catch up with the Falcons, or at least we would assume.
How does Turner feel about the situation?
"I'm not sure why it's going like this," Turner said. "It's great to be 6-0 and everything. But we can't just assume we're always going to be able to get an interception or a last-minute field goal every time. At some point we're going to have to run the ball. We've got to be able to knock it in [the endzone]."
He's obviously frustrated, and I can't really blame him. The new offense of 2012 isn't relying on the ground game as much as we've become accustomed to. However, that doesn't mean he should only receive 11 carries like he did against Oakland.
Take a look at the Falcons schedule coming up. Only two games remain against a top 10 defense, both against the might Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aside from that, Atlanta gets Carolina again, we've already seen how that one goes. The Saints, who currently sit with the 31st run defense, still face off against the Falcons twice. Philly, Dallas, Arizona, New York and Detroit all are mediocre at best. There's no reason Turner shouldn't run the ball at least 15+ times against each.
If the Falcons decide to rev up the run game going forward, which I expect them to do, Turner is fully capable of breaking 1,000 yards. This process needs to pick up soon. It already looks like his confidence is down, even if he denies it. Get Turner more involved, provide some balance for the offense, and we're looking at smooth sailing, I hope.
Do you think The Burner can/will break 1,000 yards rushing?