The Atlanta Falcons established the run in the second half of Sunday's 23-20 win over the Cleveland Browns. At one point, Arthur Smith called 14 straight runs, picking up chunk gains as the offensive line blew open big gaps.
For the bruisers up front, the 25 second-half runs were a holiday treat in October.
"That was a couple years' worth of Christmas, maybe," right tackle Kaleb McGary said of the run calls, via ESPN. "That's what we were wanting. We were hoping and praying. Give us a chance. Let us run the ball. Just give us a chance."
The Falcons utilized three running backs to run for 202 yards in Week 4 versus Cleveland, the second time this season ATL has earned 200-plus yards rushing (also Week 1).
Cordarrelle Patterson went for 38 yards on nine carries with a touchdown. But dealing with a knee injury that sent the RB to injured reserve on Monday, the Falcons leaned on a combo of rookie Tyler Allgeierand 2021 undrafted running back Caleb Huntley. Allgeier dashed for 84 yards on 10 totes while Huntly galloped for 56 yards and a TD on 10 carries.
The 14-straight run calls came after Marcus Mariota threw a ghastly interception that allowed the Browns to take the lead. But the Falcons mashed their way back, going 75 yards in 10 plays (all runs) to regain the lead.
"When the line is running like that, that's what you call being in the flow," Smith said. "Proud of those guys. We knew it was going to be a big-boy fight. Seeing all the run attempts and I always thought the team that ran the ball better today was going to win. That held true, thankfully."
McGary and his linemates were blasting big holes against a Browns defense with zero answers. Already having questions at defensive tackle, Cleveland playing without Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney had the D-line susceptible to gashes. Guard Chris Lindstrom (94.0) and McGary (90.0) received Pro Football Focus' top two run-blocking grades in Week 4.
The Falcons' ability to run the ball has them 2-2 to open the season, good enough to earn a tie with Tampa Bay atop the NFC South.