The Atlanta Falcons rallied to beat the Carolina Panthers 31-17 in the homecoming game of former Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. The homecoming celebration was derailed by a Falcons defense that forced three interceptions and two sacks on Newton, while Michael Turner handled the scoring load with two touchdowns on 139 yards rushing.
During Monday's Atlanta Falcons' press conference, head coach Mike Smith was effusive with his praise of Turner and the results from the running game on Sunday:
We felt like the way they were going to defend us was going to give us an opportunity. I don't know that we basically came out and said how many carries Michael was going to have but Michael got the ball rolling early and we kept feeding him because we felt that he was in a groove.
Smith on getting Turner outside on the edge versus the Panthers:
When people try to defend us, they're going to basically tell us where we're going to be able to run the football and that's the premise of, again, I say it over and over, of our offense and we felt that we were going to be able to get him to the second level and get him to the second level there on the perimeter. Of course, when you've got Michael coming around the corner at 245 pounds, there's some guys that might not necessarily want to take a clean shot at him.
You might remember that here on SB Nation Atlanta we noted that the Falcons success is deeply rooted to how many carries Turner gets a game. Turner hit the magical number of 20 again on Sunday, giving Atlanta three wins in three games when Turner gets 20+ carries.