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#pounditSaturday, April 1, 2023

Devonta Freeman, Kyle Shanahan at odds over missed assignment on key turnover

Devonta Freeman

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was a big part of the team’s early offensive barrage Sunday night, but a missed assignment on his part may have ultimately turned the tide in Super Bowl LI.

With the Falcons up 28-12 and 8:31 left in the fourth quarter, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower blew through Atlanta’s protection, sacked Matt Ryan, and stripped the football from him, forcing a turnover. New England went down to score, and that play was a big momentum shift that sparked the furious Patriots comeback.

After the game, Freeman denied that picking up Hightower was his responsibility on the play.

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, however, confirmed that it was Freeman who failed to pick up the rusher, leaving Ryan exposed.

Given the things Freeman and his agents said during the week leading up to the game, this might not go over very well. In a game that comes down to overtime, every little thing matters, and maybe things are different if Freeman handles his assignment and Ryan is protected before he could turn the ball over.


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