In a battle of the back ups, the Jaguars were able to prevail tonight in a game that was mostly one to forget about.
The Falcons couldn't get anything going offensively for the most part, and those problems that have been plaguing the Falcons all preseason were again present tonight. Falcons coach Mike Smith elected to play a mixture of backups and starters on the offensive line tonight and it didn't help improve the state of what appears to be an overmatched offensive line.
The line struggled to get an effective push and also struggled to protect back up QB Dominique Davis, who played the majority of the game.
There wasn't a whole lot of scoring in the first half. The Falcons defense was decent for the most part as in the first drive of the game they were able to stifle Jacksonville's offense and Robert Alford was able to claim his second interception of the preseason. Alford was beaten on a few passing plays, but he looked better than he did last week against Tennessee.
The Falcons couldn't get much started on offense in the first half as Dominique Davis and his receivers were out of rhythm much of the night as multiple balls were overthrown, dropped and off target. Davis had a sub par night going 18/35 for 175 yards and an interception with no touchdowns and a 53.9 QB rating. He'll probably still win the second QB job, but he didn't help his cause with this performance.
Late in the first quarter the Jaguars struck first on their third drive of the game with a six play 60 yard drive orchestrated by Chad Henne. The Jaguars utilized a good mix of running and intermediate passing plays that picked apart the Falcons soft zone coverage. There were many missed tackles and blown coverages on this drive, including three missed tackles on RB Jordan Todman's 18 yard run for the touchdown.
The Jaguars would later add a Josh Scobee field goal to make it a 10-0 game. But the Falcons defense would wake up and start to clamp down on the Jaguars a bit late in the second quarter.
Jonathan Massaquoi made his bid to join the team by sacking QB Matt Scott deep in Jacksonville's territory, stripping the ball and rumbling into the end zone for the touchdown to cut the deficit to 10-6. It was a nice play by Massaquoi who beat his man and made it a point to attack the vulnerable quarterback by ripping the ball right out of his hands. Massaquoi put his best foot forward and had a nice game with four tackles (three solo), one sack, one touchdown, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
After Desmond Trufant recorded his first interception of the preseason, the Falcons would finally put a sustainable drive together at the end of the second quarter as Davis was able to put together an eight play, 33 yard drive that resulted in a Jeremy Shelley 42 yard field goal that would take us to half time with the Jaguars now leading 10-9. Shelley also missed a field goal attempt and an extra point in this game.
Trufant looked good tonight. He was beaten a couple of times, but for the most part, his coverage was very tight and physical and he also had two passes defended in addition to his interception.
Josh Scobee would add another field goal to increase the Jaguars lead to 13-9, before the Falcons would answer with their only offensive touchdown of the game, a 65 yard burst through the middle by RB Josh Vaughan. While this may have come too little too late for Vaughan to make the team, Vaughan will at least now be in the conversation after that impressive run of his.
Vaughan's touchdown would give the Falcons a brief lead of 16-13 by the end of the third quarter.
Third string QB Sean Renfree would enter the game in the third quarter, but would be removed after injuring his shoulder. On what was a busted play in which he was about to get sacked by Jacksonville, he flipped the ball to ineligible receiver, offensive lineman Jacques McClendon right before he fell to the ground.
McClendon would rumble, stumble, and bumble out of bounds before being called as an ineligible receiver and negating the play. Renfree though unfortunately injured himself on the fall and was removed from the game. Renfree went 3/5 for just 1 yard in the game.
The Jaguars would open the fourth quarter with a ten play 67 yard drive that would be capped of with a 13 yard pass from third string QB Mike Kafka to back up WR Jeremy Ebert. This would be the final score of the game that would put Jacksonville up for good.
We didn't learn much from this game in terms of how good the Falcons are going to be this year, since it was mostly a game of backups, and the preseason is far different than the offseason.
The offensive line continues to appear to be the bane of the Falcons' existence at the moment. This particularly true in the continuing struggles of RT Lamar Holmes who allowed QB pressures and a sack on Davis. What's worse was the fact that he was giving this up to Jaguars backups, not starters. It appears that the Falcons may be looking for help on the offensive line via free agency after the tough preseason for Holmes. Holmes has the potential, it's just been a rough learning curve for the second year man. But if the last two weeks are any indication, Thomas Dimitroff may be looking for help via free agency for his struggling O-line.
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