Coleman was contained to 51 yards on 14 carries, but added three receptions for 26 yards during a 37-36 loss to the Bengals.
Through his first four career games as the Falcons' No. 1 back in place of Devonta Freeman, Coleman averaged 89.3 rushing yards per contest. Over his last two outings as the lead man against New Orleans and Cincinnati, he's averaged an anemic 42 yards per game as Atlanta has dropped to 1-3 to start the 2018 campaign. Freeman (knee) may be back for Week 5 after practicing on a limited basis last Thursday and Friday, but if Coleman is handed the ball as the feature back again, it will come against a Steelers defense that entered Week 4 allowing the sixth-fewest points to opposing running backs in standard scoring.
Coleman carried 16 times for 107 yards and added 18 yards while catching all four of his targets during Sunday's 31-24 win over the Panthers.
In the absence of Devonta Freeman (knee), Coleman received twice as many touches as he did in Week 1, responding with his highest scrimmage yard total since last October. He averaged an excellent 6.7 yards per carry thanks in part to a long gain of 36 yards, and tied for fourth on the team in targets even though he didn't make a huge impact through the air. Coleman should continue to carry the load for the time being, with Freeman expected to miss up to four additional weeks while he recovers. He should be heavily involved once again next week against the Saints.
The Falcons are preparing for Sunday's game against the Panthers as though Coleman will serve as the team's lead back, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "We highly regard [Coleman]," head coach Dan Quinn said. "We've been down this road before, if it gets to that where [Devonta Freeman can't play], Tevin can certainly handle [the load]."
For much of the past three seasons, the top backfield duties have fallen to Freeman, but he's no lock to suit up Week 2 after missing his second straight practice Thursday due to a sore knee. Even if Freeman is cleared to suit up come Sunday, the Falcons would likely monitor his usage carefully, paving the way for Coleman to pick up the bulk of the snaps out of the backfield. Coleman previously handled the lead role while Freeman missed two games with a concussion last November, accruing 155 total yards and three touchdowns on 40 touches between those contests.
Coleman carried his impressive preseason form into Week 1 against the Eagles, as he joined Jay Ajayi and Julio Jones as the only players to break double-digits in standard scoring formats. If Devonta Freeman (knee) is indeed active for Atlanta's Week 2 matchup against Carolina, he is likely to have a tempered pitch count in an attempt to keep him healthy down the stretch of the regular season, meaning that Coleman could be in line for upwards of 20 touches against a Panthers defense that finished third against the run in 2017.
Coleman compiled 38 yards on seven rush attempts, adding one reception for 10 yards amidst a 17-6 loss to Jacksonville on Saturday.
Granted, 22 of Coleman's 38 rushing yards came from a single carry, but the 25-year-old back looked explosive once again with Devonta Freeman out of the lineup. Since being contained to eight yards on three attempts in the preseason opener versus the Jets, Coleman has picked up 6.1 yards per carry over the past two contests against the Chiefs and Jaguars (73 yards on 12 carries). Sure to be one of the most coveted free agent targets once his contract expires after the season, Coleman is off to a roaring start in 2018.
|Bye: Week 8|
|9||11/4/18||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|12||11/22/18||@ NO||8:20 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|