Most people were quick to write Michael Turner off coming in the 2012 season. Now in his ninth pro season, the 30-year-old running back was supposed to hit a proverbial brick wall this year, but that doesn't appear to be the case with four weeks in the books.
Last Sunday we witness The Burner torch the Panthers porous run defense for 103 yards on 13 carries, adding three receptions and 68 yards with a touchdown as well to his stat line. While the Falcons offensive line seemingly improved in blocking for No. 33, Turner is making defenders pay on his own.
Pro Football Focus recently released their signature stats from Week 4. One that caught my eye in particular was the "Elusive Rating", a measurement showing just how shifty running backs were. Can you guess who sits at the top of that list? If you said Michael Turner, congratulations.
An elusive rating of 300.0 is about as ridiculous as Matt Ryan's passer rating this season. Turner forced 12 missed tackles against the Panthers while averaging four yards after contact per touch. Still think he's over the hill?
PFF also calculated breakaway percentage for running backs from the first quarter of 2012, another stat proving Turner's talent is still lingering. After four games he has five runs of 15+ yards, totaling 102 yards ruhsing on those five carries. Only Reggie Bush and LeSean McCoy have more carries for 15+ yards, each with six total.
Is he going to rush 100 yards every week from here on out? Probably not. Is he still going to be vital to the Falcons success? Absolutely. Ryan has no problem carrying the offense with his arm right now, but Turner continues to provide balance to their attack, something the Falcons will need in their quest for Super Bowl title.