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Falcons 22 vs.Jets 30 final score: Atlanta starters put the pedal to the floor, backups slam on the brakes

It was a good game for what mattered, and a lousy game for the remaining three quarters.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Look, it's preseason. We shouldn't get excited about this team just yet, but after watching the starters absolutely annihilate the opposition in two straight games, I can't really help it.

You have to ignore three full quarters of football to feel good about this game, which is tough no matter what time of year it is. Nonetheless, we saw the Falcons' starters take care of business against a Jets team that boasts a truly strong defense, which is about as encouraging a sign as you'll get in preseason.

The starters were uniformly excellent, with the defense shutting down an inept Jets offense, and the Atlanta offense just burning an impressive collection of talent. When we turned to the backups, things got truly ugly, which is why this team's fortunes in 2015 are so dependent on health. This is a team that simply can't afford to take major hits across the board in the health department, so we'll simply have to hope they do not.

Here's a few observations.

  • The passing offense is almost unfair. Leonard Hankerson did nice work in relatively tight spaces, Collin Mooney looks like a bulldozer, and Ryan looks comfortable and confident behind his offensive line.
  • The backup quarterback battle is far from settled. T.J. Yates made a couple of nice passes, but also threw a pick. Renfree couldn't get things going, but looked accurate when he was able to throw passes. This one will likely come down to the third preseason game.
  • Nobody has done more for their chances of making the roster than Nick Williams, Stansly Maponga, and Collin Mooney. All three played well last night, and all three loom as potential favorites for those last spots
  • Remember, it's preseason. If injuries strike you're going to have to worry about this football team, but if they stay relatively healthy, the result of this one matters very little. Considering the Falcons were without Hageman, Trufant, Freeman, Coleman, Antone Smith, and William Moore, this went quite well.
  • Injury continues to strike. The Falcons potentially lost Derek Akunne and RB Evan Royster tonight, leaving them perilously thin at running back for yet another week.
Next week sees the Falcons squaring off against the Dolphins. Join us all week for more coverage, and check back tomorrow morning for recaps, takeaways and more from Falcons-Jets.