Former Atlanta Falcons running back Gerald Riggs. AJC file photo

Falcons passed on having dynamic duo in backfield

One has to wonder what the Falcons could have been had they used Gerald Riggs and William Andrews in the same backfield.

They were on the roster together for three seasons, 1982-83 and ’86 but Dan Henning was the coach for the latter two seasons and used a one-back offense. Riggs and Andrews would find themselves on the field together in short yardage situations but rarely otherwise and Andrews would miss the ’84 and ’85 seasons due to a major knee injury.

“I think if we had been on the field together a lot we would have been one of the most formidable duos ever,’’ said Riggs, who along with Andrews is one of nine players in the team’s Ring of Honor. “There was always talk about it and the possibility but it never happened. I was a sprinter and William was a big back with a lot of power. I remember one time we were in together on a third-and-1 and I broke off about a 40-yard run. There would have been a lot of that.’’

Riggs does remember perhaps the most memorable catch and run in Falcons history. It came in Denver in on Dec. 5, 1982, when Riggs was a rookie and the Falcons were at their own 14-yard line. Andrews took a screen pass from quarterback Steve Bartkowski and ran over Broncos cornerback Steve Wilson, bursting his way down the left sideline and receiving a great block downfield from tight end Junior Miller before completing the 86-yard touchdown.

“I remember before the game started that Steve Crosby, who was our running backs coach, remarked how Wilson was always talking a lot,’’ said Riggs. “Even some of the officials were joking around about it and wished someone would shut him up. And in that game, William laid him out. It was some type of shot.’’

The play can still be seen on YouTube and is considered one of the most vicious shots handed out by an NFL running back.

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