According to Steve Martin comedy isn’t pretty. Neither is the fourth preseason game. Preseason has mercifully ended for the Atlanta Falcons and NFL fans across the country Thursday night as the Falcons fell 13-7 at Mercedes Benz Stadium to finish 0-4.
If there was any doubt Matt Simms pretty much clinched the third string QB slot – a slot no one hopes to have to take the field. Simms threw for 195 yards including a 65 yarder to Marvin Hall to set up Atlanta’s only score early in the fourth quarter. Alek Torgersen was only 1-of-7 but if was a doozy for 51 yards but Atlanta was unable to get the ball into the end zone for the comeback.
Reserve tight end Darion Griswold made the most of probably his last appearance on the roster by recovering a fumble in the end zone for Atlanta’s only score and catching Torgersen’s only completion to put the ball deep in Jaguar territory.
The Falcons run defense took a bit of a beating as they surrendered 155 yards at an average clip of 3.7 yards a carry. The secondary despite giving up 265 yards to Brandon Allen kept Atlanta in a game that had a chance of being a total blowout. The Atlanta secondary showed aggressive ball hawking form intercepting the Jaguar QB three times including twice in the end zone to spoil prime scoring opportunities.
The last preseason of the game can be brutal to watch unless you are a hardcore fan of your team – and even then it’s pushing its boundaries. None of the offensive starters stepped onto the field Thursday, many of whom saw no action whatsoever in the preseason as a whole that harkens back to calls to discontinue the games. For many a player it is their 15 minutes of NFL fame as many will be cut come Saturday at 4PM. Some are fighting for a spot on the practice squad while others are trying to cement themselves as a reserve as Simms.
I feel bad for Jhurell Pressley who will probably be one of these casualties. He carried the ball seven times for 11 yards. That last carry was fumbled at the goal line and fortunately recovered by Griswold.
I’m not saying the Atlanta offense tonight didn’t have a number of nice plays but not enough of them were grouped together to form any semblance of a drive minus one. Atlanta once again won the turnover battle with their three interceptions to one by Jacksonville.
Dede Westbrook was the star on offense for the Jaguars as the wide out caught six passes for a game high 115 yards catching a 43 yard touchdown pass from Allen on the last play of the first half breaking a scoreless tie.
The Jaguars finish up the preseason at 2-2 while the Falcons remained winless. It’s now pins and needles time for a number of players, as the roster has to be cut down to 53 players by 4pm Saturday. Jermaine Grace made a strong case for himself as he was all over the field making tackles at linebacker and dropped back in coverage on one play to intercept Allen. Grace has missed a great deal of preseason thanks to an injury but made the most of the opportunity Thursday to give coaches something to think about.
Atlanta will open the regular season on September 10 when they head to Chicago to play the Bears. Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm and the game aired on Fox.
– Dave Weinthal
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