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One Falcon Unit To Watch: The Run Defense

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Stop Doug Martin and save the world.

Jeff Gross

The Atlanta Falcons have struggled to stop the run this year. That goes without saying.

Unfortunately, they're matched up against one of the best ground games in America. That's thanks to Muscle Hamster Dougernaught rookie Doug Martin, who has been absolutely on fire these past few weeks. He's got an elite combination of speed, power and pass-catching ability, and he's heading to an all-time season. The dude's got 1,000 yards in ten games, for criminy's sake.

The Falcons will have to at least limit the damage from Martin so the Buccaneers won't just run roughshod over them or run the play action pass at will. Doing that will fall on the shoulders of the entire defense, from Corey Peters to Stephen Nicholas to William Moore. It will be incumbent on the defense to be aggressive, tackle soundly and get multiple bodies on Martin to ensure he goes down.

It won't be enough to keep Martin under 100 yards, more than likely, because he's simply that good and the Falcons are comically bad at stopping the run. But if they can keep the damage to a dull roar and force Josh Freeman into a couple of mistakes, this is a winnable football game. The alternative is not so pretty.

The best way to slow Martin down? Make him play on turf, where he's averaging just 3.7 yards per carry on the year. Too bad the Falcons won't get to do that until they have the luxury of hosting the Buccaneers in a few weeks.

Your thoughts on the run defense?