What impression has Tyler Allgeier made in Atlanta heading into his first NFL start?
The rookie back out of BYU will take on a bigger role with Cordarrelle Patterson on injured reserve
One week after a breakout effort four games into his rookie season, Atlanta’s Tyler Allgeier is listed atop the depth chart at running back leading into the Falcons’ game this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The opportunity for Allgeier, the former standout at BYU, to take on a bigger role in the upcoming weeks comes after the Falcons placed lead back Cordarrelle Patterson on injured reserve.
Patterson’s absence — he will miss at least four games while on IR — leaves some big shoes to fill: Through the 2022 season’s first four weeks, Patterson is fourth in the NFL in rushing yards with 340.
He’s also scored three rushing touchdowns for an Atlanta offense that is fourth in the league in rushing yards (672), sixth in yards per carry (5.1) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (six).
Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota shared what Allgeier has shown early in the season to spark his confidence in him.
“He runs hard. Again, I think a credit to this entire young class that’s come in — they’re smart as well,” Mariota told reporters earlier this week.
“I’m not back there telling him what to do, he knows what is going on. I think that’s allowed him to play fast and execute well. Credit goes to him for knowing the system and also just running hard.”
When Allgeier and fellow back Caleb Huntley had more opportunities last week to spell an ailing Patterson, the pair delivered while helping Atlanta beat the Cleveland Browns 23-20.
Allgeier ran for a team-high 84 yards on 10 carries, including a 42-yarder that set up a game-tying field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
He also had a 20-yard reception that set up Atlanta’s first score of the game.
Huntley, meanwhile, ran for 56 yards on 10 carries and scored his first career touchdown on a 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give the Falcons the lead.
“We all just fed off each other. I think that’s just the biggest thing. Obviously, everyone wants to touch the rock, everyone wants to score but as a group collective, as long as we got that dub, (and) we did,” Allgeier told reporters after last week’s game, where the Falcons ran for 202 yards.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game, so we just strapped our helmets up and freaking got it done.”
Falcons coach Arthur Smith echoed Mariota’s sentiments when asked earlier this week what he’s seen out of Allgeier so far.
“He’s a very smart football player,” Smith told reporters on Wednesday. “(Allgeier does) the little things that matter.”
Smith went on to explain one of those “little things” he saw from Allgeier in the win over the Browns, even on a play that netted no gain for Atlanta.
With just under three minutes to play in a 20-20 game and the Falcons facing a third-and-3 at the Cleveland 27, the Falcons trusted Allgeier with the carry.
While he was stopped for no gain on the play, Allgeier stayed inbounds and forced the Browns to use their third and final timeout before Atlanta connected on a 45-yard field goal to take the lead.
The spent timeout from the Browns ended up costing them on the ensuing drive, when Jacoby Brissett was sacked on a second-and-15 play in Atlanta territory, putting Cleveland in an unfavorably long third-down situation with the clock running down and no way to stop it.
On the next play, Brissett threw an interception when he needed 23 yards to pick up a first down.
That little thing, keeping the clock running to force the opposing team to call a timeout, stood out to Smith about Allgeier.
“He didn’t go out of bounds, he knew the situation,” Smith said.
“Those little things, when guys are in tune to that and know the situation, make a big difference.”
Allgeier and the Falcons will face a couple of significant hurdles, in addition to Patterson’s absence, to match the rushing effort from last week when they take on Tampa Bay this weekend.
Atlanta tight end Kyle Pitts is ruled out this week with a hamstring injury, leaving a sizable hole in the run block scheme.
The Buccaneers are also led by coach Todd Bowles, known for his tough defenses. The Buccaneers are 11th in the NFL in rushing defense — allowing 106.7 yards per game — and have given up just two rushing touchdowns this season.
“This is a really good run defense we’re getting ready to face down in Tampa,” Smith said. “You can’t keep doing the same things over and over because this league’s too competitive, there’s too many smart players and coaches.
“That’s the whole step is improvement week to week.”