Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley made his highly anticipated return to the state of Georgia on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the pseudo homecoming for Gurley was short-lived as Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter abandoned Gurley in the second half of Sunday’s 38-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
"“When you’re down a couple you’re just thinking of possessions — getting a score, getting another. It would have been nice to continue into that space into the fourth quarter. But as the game went, in terms of carries and staying in it, that wasn’t how we could play at that time.”"
Using Todd Gurley as just a running back is where Dirk Koetter and Dan Quinn made their first mistake. You don’t sign Todd Gurley because he can the run the football. You sign Gurley because, when healthy, he is the most complete running back in the NFL and gives an offense the upper hand in the cat and mouse game taking place.
Todd Gurley is the ultimate mismatch in football and the Atlanta Falcons failed to take advantage of that.
During his career, Todd Gurley’s teams are 10-2 when he has at least 45 receiving yards in the game. When he has 60 or more receiving yards in the game, his teams are 6-1. When he has 20 or more carries, his teams are 19-6 and when he has 20 carries and five receptions in a game, his teams have never lost.
Using him in the passing game is the ultimate reward and biggest benefit of having him on your roster. Did you see how the Seahawks built their lead Sunday? They used Chris Carson and Greg Olsen early in the short-yardage passing game to open up the field in the second half to explode offensively.
There is zero reasons that Chris Carson had a bigger effect on the game than Todd Gurley and just shows the lack of foresight, inability to adjust a garbage game plan, and that he doesn’t truly understand how to use the weapons at his disposal.
Koetter really is in the mindset of using his receivers to catch the ball, his tight ends to block and his running backs to run. Yet, he has the best array of weapons across the league and has receivers that can run the ball, tight ends that can make plays all over the field, and three different running backs that can help open up the passing game.
Sure, there are plenty of reasons that you can sit there and be happy with 500 yards of offense but when you have just 25 points as a result and no turnovers that killed drives it should send signals to everyone that your offensive coordinator has no idea how to drive a Ferrari out of first gear.
Todd Gurley has to be used to more than he is and the Atlanta Falcons have to take advantage of his skill set before they flush another year of an elite offense down the toilet.