Today we step into the time machine and go back about four decades in this edition of the “Forgotten Falcons” article series.
Lynn Cain spent six of his seven years as a running back in the NFL in Atlanta, toting the rock as a starter (technically) in three of those years. He was the other part of a rushing duo that included Falcons legend William Andrews, helping the Falcons taste their first bit of divisional success in franchise history.
Let’s take a look at Cain’s time in Atlanta.
Years in Atlanta: 1979-1984
Falcons Statistics: 604 carries, 2,263 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns, 122 catches, 1,037 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns
Cain isn’t a name most think of when looking at the Falcons of the early 80s (hence the reason for his placement in this article), but he was an effective piece in Atlanta’s greatest success in the early part of its history.
That success is, of course, the 1980 season. After managing one playoff appearance in their first 14 years since inception, the Falcons rattled off a 12-4 campaign and NFC West Title in 1980 before getting their hearts broke in the Divisional Round against the Cowboys (a game in which Cain scored a touchdown).
Steve Bartkowski, William Andrews and Alfred Jenkins were the stars on offense but Cain certainly played his role by registering 914 rushing yards and a team-high eight rushing touchdowns. Cain technically started every game at running back, as Andrews was registered as a fullback.
While Cain would never sniff the statistical success of 1980 again, he proved to be an effective receiving threat out of the backfield in 1981 with a career high 421 receiving yards. He also contributed six total touchdowns.
Cain statistically fell off even further after 1981, completely losing his role on the team in 1983, but he managed to carve out a niche in the NFL and parlayed it into a seven-year career during an era of football where offenses did not rule the day.
Cain’s finest hour will always be the 1980 season, and Falcons fans who are old enough to remember that campaign will have an appreciation for his contributions during that magical run.