One of the great strengths of the Patriots all season was their rushing defense. In the regular season, they were ranked third in the NFL in total rushing yards allowed. Also, they were ranked eighth in opponents yards per carry average on the ground. Overall, it was a solid season for the rushing defense.
In the Super Bowl, one of the key matchups was the battle on the ground. With the Falcons having success on the ground during the regular season, it was an interesting battle to monitor. In the Super Bowl, the Falcons’ rushing offense certainly won the battle.
Their leading rusher was, of course, Devonta Freeman. Against the Patriots, Freeman played a very good game, as he totaled 75 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Freeman averaged 6.8 yards per carry, and it was shocking to see the Falcons not give him the ball more often in the game. In addition to Freeman, Tevin Coleman also had a solid game with 29 rushing yards on seven carries.
The Patriots’ run defense has been excellent, however, they were beaten up in the Super Bowl. The Falcons certainly missed their opportunities to bury the Patriots by going away from the running game.