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Falcons RBs Are Tough To Take Down

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ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons breaks a tackle by Tanard Jackson #36 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons breaks a tackle by Tanard Jackson #36 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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When you think about the most elusive runners in the NFL today, you probably envision shifty backs with the ability to break defenders ankles left and right. This isn't exactly the case with the Falcons main RBs in recent years, but the combo of Michael Turner and Jason Snelling has been an incredibly tough pair to bring down.

Pro Football Focus, a site I seem to frequently reference, has put together a three-year composition of elusive ratings for running backs. This basically shows which guys have been a nightmare for defenses to stop, and some of the names on the list are sure to surprise you.

Here's the best part: two of the top 10 most elusive backs are Falcons. That's right, Michael Turner AND Jason Snelling were up there with the best.

Rank

Player '09 Carries '10 Carries '11 Carries Touches Missed Tkles YACn YACn Avg. ELUSIVE RATING
1 Jonathan Stewart 221 178 142 614 135 1643 2.7 58.8
2 Fred Jackson 238 222 170 746 149 1991 2.7 53.3
3 Michael Turner 178 334 301 847 145 2454 2.9 49.6
4 Adrian L. Peterson 313 283 208 901 148 2440 2.7 44.5
5 Marshawn Lynch 120 202 285 685 127 1605 2.3 43.4
6 Ahmad Bradshaw 163 276 171 712 123 1741 2.4 42.2
7 Pierre Thomas 147 83 110 458 84 962 2.1 38.5
8 Jason Snelling 142 87 44 373 67 760 2.0 36.6
9 DeAngelo Williams 216 87 155 514 73 1310 2.5 36.2
10 Felix Jones 116 185 127 528 78 1267 2.4

35.4

The Burner punishes those who try to bring him down. No. 33 averaged 2.9 yards per carry after contact in the last three seasons, a stat that leads the entire league in that time frame.

Snelling might not be the first player you think of when you hear the word elusive, but I can assure you he runs like a man on a mission whenever he touches the ball. Just watch this play:

Ridiculous, right? Even better that it's against the Saints. Say what you will about Turner and Snelling, but there's a reason Atlanta wanted to keep them both around.