“I have a bone to pick with Mike Smith,” Dungy said. “I love Matt Ryan, too, but don’t forget about your running game. This was a team that was built on defense and running the ball. Get Michael Turner back involved.”
This little gripe was after Turner carried the ball for a season-high 18 times against Washington.
MICHAEL TURNER’S 2012 STATS
Team carries yards TDs
K.C. 11 32 0
Den 17 42 1
S.D. 14 80 1
Car 13 103 0
Wash 18 67 1
Totals: 73 324 3
Dungy’s comments are timely, because even though the league is shifting to becoming more of a passing operation, some of the top teams in 2012 are running the ball down defense’s throats.
Four teams – San Francisco (311 yards), New England (251), New York Giants (243) and Chicago (214)– rushed for more than 200 yards on Sunday and all of them, like the Falcons, are in first place.
Turner’s 324 yards is 15th in the league. The team has been trying to cut Turner’s carries for the last couple of seasons.
He’s averaging 14.6 carries per game, which projects out to 233 carries for the season.
Turner had 301 carries last season, 334 in 2010 and 376 in 2008.
In each of those 300-plus carry seasons, Turner rushed for more than 1,300 yards. He’s on pace to rush for 1,037 yards.
While Dungy wants to see some more Turner, fellow NBC analyst Rodney Harrison liked that Ryan recovered from his interception and fumble to lead the Falcons to victory over the Redskins.
“This is the Matt Ryan that we didn’t see last year, coming back from these types of mistakes,” Harrison said.
ESPN’s analyst Mike Ditka still has a bad taste in his mouth from the Falcons’ playoff loss to the New York Giants.
“Unless you win in the playoffs, you’re going to be known as next year’s champions,” Ditka said when asked if he could trust these Falcons.
The Falcons may be 5-0, but clearly they are not winning in the national broadcast court of public opinion.