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Freeman on Falcons: We turned this around together

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The Atlanta Falcons are unbeaten and untied after five weeks -- and their success is no fluke.

Sunday's 25-19 overtime win against the Washington Redskins highlighted what's different about a new-look Falcons offense under the watch of talented play-caller Kyle Shanahan.

A bottom-10 rushing team in 2014, Atlanta on Sunday plowed through the 'Skins for 176 yards, much of it coming in the second half after an improved Washington secondary shut out Falcons star wideout Julio Jones over the first 30 minutes.

"We are doing a great job. Everybody, Kyle, the offensive linemen, the quarterback, the receivers, everybody is doing a great job as a whole unit," running back Devonta Freeman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after shredding the Redskins for 153 yards on the ground.

With a whopping eight touchdowns on the ground, Freeman is the prime beneficiary of Shanahan's proven zone-blocking scheme, which has transformed a cadre of ho-hum linemen into a chorus of maulers.

"We turned this thing around together," said Freeman. "We said back in April what we wanted to stand for, so it's all showing and paying off right now. Everybody is living up to our expectations."

The revived ground game only helps quarterback Matt Ryan, forcing teams to now account for a cast of backs that produced just one 100-yard rushing performance over the past two seasons. Freeman already has two this autumn.

Ryan and Jones, of course, have the ability to go off at any time, but Atlanta last season would have been cooked on a day that saw their franchise quarterback throw two picks and lose a fumble as he did against Washington.

This year's Falcons, though, are built to pound the ball, something that should help these dome-dwellers stay competitive outdoors as winter draws near.

"My mentality is that no one can bring me down, and the offensive line's mindset is that they aren't going to let anyone touch me," Freeman said. "When they do their jobs it makes everyone look good. It starts with them."

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