The Falcons’ backs were against their goal line.
After Carolina had cut their lead to 10 points, the Falcons found themselves in a third-and-21 from their 14 in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Matt Ryan looked for All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, but he was taken away. He found running back Tevin Coleman up the left sideline for a 31-yard gain.
“It felt really good to get that conversion to help my team with a score,” Coleman said.
On the next play, Coleman broke loose around right end for a 55-yard touchdown run to beat back the Panthers’ rally.
“It was definitely like boom, boom,” an animated Coleman said. “The offensive line made great blocks and (fullback Patrick) DiMarco made a great block for me to explode through the hole.”
Coleman and Devonta Freeman entered the game as the most prolific scoring running back tandem in the league with 17 rushing touchdowns. Coleman’s score was their 18th.
“It’s amazing and it feels real good because me and Devonta work real hard to do things like that,” Coleman said. “This defense is an amazing defense to run the ball against. We are real excited that we got some yards on the ground against them.”
Going into this week’s games, the Falcons’ tandem was sixth in the league with combined rushing yards of 1,316 and combined total yardage of 2,023 on 368 touches and 21 touchdowns, including receptions.
Tennessee’s duo of DeMarco Murray (1,224) and Derrick Henry (412) were the top running backs tandem in the league with 1,636 rushing yards, but had 13 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams had combined for 1,422 yards and nine touchdowns.
Freeman and Coleman finished with 221 total yards last week against the 49ers. They combined for 223 yards against the Panthers.
It was the fourth time this season the two have combined for 200-plus yards in a game.