Atlanta Falcons’ running back Devonta Freeman has been cleared through the league’s concussion protocol, and he’s going to be allowed to play this weekend. The Falcons will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In September, when the Falcons were undefeated and the Bucs were struggling under young QB Jameis Winston, this may have looked like an easy win. Now, the tables have turned massively. The Falcons are struggling to do much right, and Winston has really stepped up his game.
Plus, the last time these two met—on the first day of November—the Bucs got a 20-23 win. They’re 5-6, looking to even things up with the 6-5 Falcons with another win.
All told, it means getting Freeman back is huge for the Falcons. He was one of the few bright spots in that first loss to the Bucs, putting up 88 yards on the ground and adding another 43 yards receiving.
Despite missing some time, Freeman has been very good whenever he’s able to get on the field. He started the season as the backup, took over the starting job, and has now put up 764 yards on 167 carries. His nine rushing touchdowns are the best by any back in the NFL.
Best of all, perhaps, is the way Freeman protects the ball. He has 215 touches this year, and he has only fumbled one time. His backup, rookie running back Tevin Coleman, has been pretty good in the yards department—he put up 110 yards in Freeman’s place last week. However, he fumbled the ball away during that game, giving him three lost fumbles this year, even though he’s touched the ball just 78 times. That works out to one fumble every 26 touches.