Obviously, John Abraham is the defensive player of the game. He posted 3.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and generally made Blaine Gabbert's already miserable existence a little grimmer, so there's really no competition here. But he wasn't the author of all five of our best defensive plays of the game.
John Abraham Sets The Tone
Is it particularly challenging to sack Blaine Gabbert? Maybe not, but John Abraham still deserves props for making it look easy.
Abraham abused Guy Whimper, instantly shattered Gabbert's confidence and put the Jaguars in an untenable position on Jacksonville's very first drive, catching Gabbert in one of his famous seven-step drops and bringing him down for a 10 yard loss.
That's what I call setting the tone.
Sean Weatherspoon Puts In Another Day At The Office
You have to give credit to Sean Weatherspoon for blowing up Marcedes Lewis in the first quarter, turning a third down into a fourth down and dropping Lewis for a four yard loss.
Again, this was about stamping out hope early while the offense stomped all over Jacksonville. These were big plays.
John Abraham Sacks, The Police Cometh
Abraham got Gabbert for the second time in the second quarter. Jacksonville had actually managed to get out to their own 42 yard line and had a first down...until Abe tore Whimper's guts out, ate them and sacked Gabbert again.
Gabbert fumbled the ball away and Lofton made a heads-up play on the ball, grabbing it and returning it to the Falcons. They promptly drove a short distance and nailed a field goal.
John Abraham Sets Up A Corey Peters Rumble
Abe's third sack of the game came on a 2nd and 9 deep in Jaguars territory. Once again, Abe took a long drink from the fountain of youth and slammed Gabbert to the turf, forcing a fumble.
This time, Corey Peters was all over it. The criminally underrated defensive tackle found the ball, scooped it up and ran 13 yards for a touchdown. He followed it up with an awesome touchdown dance, which earns him extra points.
That's teamwork, folks.
Thomas DeCoud Kills Remaining Hope
The Jaguars had scored near the end of the third quarter. If they had even an outside shot at coming back—and they probably didn't—they had to score early in the fourth.
They managed to drive into Atlanta territory before Gabbert made an ill-advised deep throw to Marcedes Lewis. The ever alert Thomas DeCoud jumped the route and grabbed the interception, running it back 21 yards and putting the Falcons on the 35.
The Falcons' next drive chewed up seven minutes and effectively ended the game.
It was that kind of week.
Kroy Biermann's 12 yard sack came in the third quarter on a 3rd and 10, but it was still sweet to watch. It's especially big given his relatively poor season as a whole.
John Abraham and Ray Edwards' split sack was a hell of a lot of fun to watch, as well.
Corey Peters' early sack may have gotten called back thanks to Ray Edwards, but it was still a great play.
Michael Turner doesn't play defense, but I'll be darned if using your own teammate as a blocker doesn't count for something.