John Bazemore/Associated Press
Freeman was injured on just the second offensive play of the game for Atlanta. He finished with three yards on two carries.
Freeman, 25, has established himself as one of the game’s premier running backs coming into the 2017 season, with 3,175 yards from scrimmage and 27 touchdowns between the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. He was a vital focal point of the team’s Super Bowl run last year, with 330 total yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs.
Heading into Sunday, Freeman had 649 yards from scrimmage and five scores this season.
Freeman has become a key pillar for Atlanta’s offense, alongside quarterback Matt Ryan, fellow running back Tevin Coleman and wideout Julio Jones. The presence of the dynamic Coleman, however, does mean the Falcons are uniquely positioned for life without Freeman. Coleman will step into the workhorse role for the Falcons until Freeman returns.
Freeman’s latest injury is a concern for the Falcons, however, especially since he missed a preseason game this summer with a concussion. The Falcons need Freeman—who signed a five-year, $ 41.25 million contract extension this offseason—on the field if they’re going to make noise in the playoffs.
Coleman is capable of handling 20-plus touches, but having both running backs to throw at a defense makes the Falcons one of the more dangerous offenses in the NFL.