We are running down the best offensive performances of 2017, and this is our number two performance by the Atlanta Falcons.
#2. Devonta Freeman - 22 carries, 126 yards, one touchdown, five receptions, 68 yards
Devonta Freeman is the Energizer bunny. The fifth year running back was his normal self on a mid-December road contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.
It was easily his best performance of a good but somewhat underwhelming 2017 season that saw Freeman put up three year low numbers. It was also his third game back after suffering a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys a little over a month prior. As the bright lights were shining on the talented Falcons, Freeman utilized a critical juncture of the season to make his most impressive mark. Ironically, the Falcons received a stellar outing from running back Tevin Coleman against these same Bucs in a Week 12.
This time around, it was Freeman’s turn to attack the Buccaneers defense.
His impact was felt as early as the Falcons second drive of the game. With the Falcons facing a 3rd-and-6 on Tampa’s 20-yard line, Freeman picked up 13 yards with a catch on an angle route out of the backfield. Three plays later, the Falcons took the early 7-0 lead on a Justin Hardy touchdown. His 29-yard catch to end the first quarter was thing of beauty as he delayed his release and broke two open-field tackles to put the Falcons down to the Bucs 22-yard line.
The five receptions by Freeman for the game was a season-high up to that point, but of course Freeman did even more damage on the ground.
A 22-yard run late in the second quarter showed just how tough Freeman really is as a 5’8” running back, as he ran over former Pro Bowl safety TJ Ward and helped guide the Falcons deep into Buccaneers territory.
With the Falcons holding on to a 17-14 lead late in the game, it was Freeman who just about iced the game on a 32-yard touchdown run in which he juked a Buccaneer safety in a mean and heartless way. Whatever agenda Freeman had on the night against Tampa Bay safeties, he made his statement loud and clear and was the main reason to why the Falcons picked up a hard-fought win in a primetime matchup against a divisional foe. It was also the second-most impressive performance of the 2017 season offensively by an Atlanta Falcon.