The Seattle Seahawks aren't just worried about MVP candidate Matt Ryan and All-Pro receiver Julio Jones slinging it around the Georgia Dome on Saturday. Atlanta also boasts a potentially devastating backfield combination of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
"They might be the best 1-2 running back combo I've played probably in my career," Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said on Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk's Curtis Crabtree. "Those two guys are really good together. They complement each other well. They both can do some dangerous things running and catching the ball."
On its face, Wright's praise seems like a blatant attempt at flattery. The Seahawks held Freeman and Coleman to a combined 50 yards rushing on 17 carries in Week 6. The dangerous duo added a meager four receptions for 17 yards.
It's safe to say Wright and fellow linebacker Bobby Wagner shut down the Freeman/Coleman combo (the linebackers combined for 21 tackles in Week 6). Yet, Wright respects the versatility the running backs bring to the table.
"Jailbreak screens. They run these guys on verticals, running backs screens," Wright said. "They're just really good out of the backfield. Really shifty guys too. We know that and we just got to make sure that wherever they are on the field you got to be ready for them."
Freeman (13 TDs) and Coleman (11 TDs) are one of three RB tandems since 1977 to score 11 or more TDs in a season (1988 Bengals Ickey Woods, 15 TDs, and James Brooks, 14; 2004 Chiefs Priest Holmes, 15 TDs and Larry Johnson, 11). The duo combined for the most scrimmage yards per game this season among all RB groups (168.9) and tied for most scrimmage TDs (25).
Freeman and Coleman allow play-caller Kyle Shanahan the flexibility to run the most diverse and high-flying offense in the NFL. If defenders sit back to slow Jones and the passing attack, Freeman and Coleman will gash them on the ground. If defenders load the box, good luck slowing the passing attack.
No backfield duo better complements each other than Freeman and Coleman, with their abilities in both the run and passing game. That is why, despite containing them in Week 6, Wright is still wary of their potency.