Through three weeks, the Atlanta Falcons field a top-five rushing attack in the NFL and are coming off a dominating performance on the ground in a 27-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Star running back Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 141 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries (8.2 yards per run). Avery Williams and rookie Tyler Allgeier combined for 34 yards on seven carries, while quarterback Marcus Mariota added a rushing score.
The Falcons sealed Sunday's affair with a pair of runs by Patterson to pick up a first down and ultimately left Lumen Field averaging 5.8 yards per carry. While the number is certainly a strong reflection of how well Atlanta's ball carriers performed, the group up front responsible for creating the running lanes deserves plenty of credit as well.
Perhaps most impressive about the offensive line's strong outing is that it did so while not being at full strength. Left guard Elijah Wilkinson, who started the season's first two games, was inactive due to a personal matter.
Fortunately for the Falcons, head coach Arthur Smith revealed Monday that Wilkinson shouldn't be away for much longer.
"He should be (back)," Smith said. "You should see him back on Wednesday."
Colby Gossett and Chuma Edoga received first-team snaps in practice during Wilkinson's absence, with Gossett getting the start against Seattle and turning in what Smith dubbed a "solid" performance post-game.
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However, per Smith, Gossett's efforts weren't enough to unseat Wilkinson, who took hold of the left guard job in the early stages of training camp and never looked back.
"I think Gossett played pretty well, but we'll start with Elijah and see how it looks this week," said Smith.
Gossett did what he was signed to do: provide depth if needed. His performance serves as a positive indication that Atlanta is building strong organizational depth, a key part to becoming a competitive football team.
But in the end, all signs point to Wilkinson getting the nod on Sunday, when the Falcons host the Cleveland Browns in Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 1 p.m.
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