The last preseason game may determine the fate of some players, but there wasn't a ton of standout performances for the bubble guys. Instead, the Falcons won handily and the coaches got more tape to watch.
The Falcons came out with their first team defense largely intact and put a ton of pressure on Blake Bortles early, picking up multiple sacks and making his life miserable. That gave the Falcons the ball back, and on the third offensive drive, T.J. Yates got it together, moving down the field with nice passes to Jeremy Ebert and Eric Weems before Devonta Freeman punched it in after three straight runs. 7-0, Falcons.
Unfortunately, with the first team defense exiting en masse, Bortles was able to connect on a long touchdown pass and quickly even things back up.
After Yates' successful drive, he saw Konz commit a penalty and was quickly sacked again. The Falcons wound up having to punt, but that was the end of Bortles' night and replacement Stephen Morris quickly distinguished himself by scrambling out of bounds for a loss of three yards on fourth down.
The next drive featured a short pass to Antone Smith for T.J. Yates, which Smith took 66 yards to the house. I'd like to note that I was just saying he wasn't having much luck the play before, thus enabling the long score. Kudos to me, and also Antone Smith.
After the Jaguars scuffled again, T.J. Yates threw a 67 yard touchdown pass to Freddie Martino. Martino's not likely to make the roster, but that was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. A couple of uninspiring series ensued, and then we hit halftime. James Stone played some left guard, which was mighty interesting.
The second half slowed things down, though Sean Renfree looked good. He authored a field goal drive that would have been a touchdown drive if not for a little too much height on an end zone pass to Eric Weems. The Jaguars eventually scored a touchdown and the rest really isn't worth summarizing. Not a lot of late-game standouts, to say the least.
Still, a good little game, and we'll now see who gets the axe.
What To Feel Confident About
The pass rush finally materialized, with the first team defense getting after Blake Bortles consistently. It's not a guarantee of anything, but it was good to see the team finally getting rusherse into the backfield from multiple angles. We haven't really seen that since, what, 2012?
Devonta Freeman will run well. He may not be a polished blocker yet, and I can't promise you he has the best hands, but the man knows how to carry the rock.
T.J. Yates at least made the backup quarterback competition a real thing, and gave us some glimpse of what the Falcons hope he can do should he ever be pressed into game action. Not saying he's got the job by any stretch of the imagination, but it was good to see him not fall down.
Causes For Concern
The long pass from Blake Bortles to Marqise Lee was an issue. The Falcons have been crushed by long passing plays this preseason, and while I want to believe none of this is going to carry over, it's fair to cast a wary eye over plays like that. This time it was Josh Wilson and Sean Baker, both of whom may well be out of a job after that one.
Penalties continued to plague this team, particularly along the offensive line. Of course some of them are ticky-tack, but the team still needs to play more disciplined football.
Your thoughts on the game?