Devonta Freeman is scoring touchdowns at a historic rate

Devonta Freeman has exploded onto the scene with the Falcons.
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

By Jesse Reed

Not since 2005 has an NFL running back scored as many touchdowns in the first quarter of the season as Devonta Freeman, who now has seven rushing touchdowns in four games for the Atlanta Falcons.

Almost all his production has occurred in the past two games. Against both the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 and then again on Sunday against the Houston Texans, Freeman scored three touchdowns on the ground.

The last time any running back hit seven rushing scores in the first four weeks was in 2015 when LaDainian Tomlinson had eight, playing with the San Diego Chargers.

Freeman’s value is two-fold. In addition to his outstanding production as a runner, he’s already hauled in 17 receptions for 194 yards and has ripped off gains of 35 and 44 yards as a receiver the past two weekends.

The Falcons had rookie back Tevin Coleman out of Indiana pegged as the starter in Week 1. Unfortunately for him, an injury in Week 2 has caused him to miss the past two-and-a-half games. Not coincidentally, that’s when Freeman started to show up on the scoreboard.

As it happens so often in the NFL, an injury has propelled a backup into the spotlight. In this case, Coleman’s misfortune turned into Atlanta’s gain. Freeman isn’t going to lose snaps when Coleman returns, and he’s quickly becoming one of the most dangerous running backs in the NFL.

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