Turner returning to prominence for Falcons

Associated Press Modified: October 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm •  Published: October 5, 2012
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Running back Michael Turner has found his groove and it couldn't come at a better time for the Atlanta Falcons.

The first two weeks of the season were tough on Turner, who struggled to establish some rhythm on the field and made his circumstances worse with a Sept. 18 arrest on DUI and speeding charges.

But his showing over the last two weeks proves that Turner perhaps has regained some focus in Atlanta's offense.

"Yeah, and hopefully we can keep that going," Turner said on Friday. "There's still some things we need to improve on, but we're winning, so everything's fine. You'd like to fix it while we're winning than wait 'til something bad happens and then you start worrying about it. Get it while it's good."

Turner averaged a paltry 2.6 yards per carry over his first 28 attempts this season, his most explosive run coming 15-yard gain that helped the Falcons seal a Week 2 victory over Denver.

A few hours after the game, Turner was arrested in Gwinnett County driving 97 mph on Interstate-85 and was charged with DUI.

Because it's still an ongoing legal matter, Turner said he will not comment on the incident until it's complete, but he did apologize for embarrassing the team and vowed to get better on the field.

His promise has held true so far.

Turner has averaged 6.8 yards per attempt over the last two weeks and looks more like the two-time Pro Bowl running back who has rushed for 5,538 yards and a franchise record 52 touchdowns since signing as a free agent in 2008.

When Turner is in sync, Atlanta's opponents are forced to bring up a safety for run support, a scenario that gives quarterback Matt Ryan the option of using play-action passes to exploit one-on-one matchups for receivers Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones.

It's a good formula for success and one that Atlanta (4-0) hopes to keep building on Sunday at Washington (2-2).

"When (you) play against us, what are you going to do?" said Gonzalez, the 16th-year tight end and the NFL's No. 2 career-leading receiver. "It just adds to the choose-your-poison offense that we want to be, that we strive to be."

"We'll see what they to do, but if they want to stop the run, they've got to put more people in the box, which is going to open up for Matt and passing game to throw it to us. So that's the good balance and we've got to keep it up."



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