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Ryan’s Struggles Weren’t Surprising, but Turner’s Problems Were
by November 30, 1999 @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Jan 3rd 2009 8:33PM by JJ Cooper (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Falcons, NFL PlayoffsYou can blame Matt Ryan’s two interceptions, or the Falcons’ defense’s inability to get off the field, but the most shocking part of the Falcons loss has to be Michael Turner’s inability to ever get going against the Cardinals defense.

Turner finished with only 42 yards on 18 carries, a 2.33-yard per carry average that looks more like what Chris Perry would do instead of what you would expect from the second-leading rusher in the NFL. And to add to the ugliness, a botched exchange between Ryan and Turner turned into the go-ahead touchdown for the Cardinals.

Turner picked the worst possible time to have his worst game of the season. Twelve of Turner’s 18 carries went for two yards or less, and six were for no gain or negative yardage. The Cardinals had a solid run defense this year, but it was hard to expect that they would completely turn Atlanta into a one-dimensional passing team.

Turner had seven carries in the first quarter, eight in the second quarter and only three carries in the entire second half. Jerious Norwood, one of the more dangerous No. 2 backs in the league, got only two carries all night — his fewest of the season.

But considering how the game was going, you can’t blame Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for junking the run. Atlanta had very few possessions in the third quarter and it was already clear that the running game wasn’t working. By the time Atlanta finally got the ball back in the fourth quarter, it was desperation time.

Turner and Ryan carried the Falcons to the playoffs. So it’s not surprising that when they struggled on Saturday, Atlanta’s season ended.

Tim Anderson Name: Tim Anderson
Position: DT
Age: 27
Experience: 5 years
College: Ohio State
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