The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-19 in their fourth and final preseason game tonight. The Ravens mercifully went for two after a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Had they converted, they would've won 21-20, handing the Falcons their third preseason loss. They will soon need to cut 22 guys to get down to their 53 man roster; they have until Saturday at 4 PM to do that. But heck, the Falcons just finished their preseason 2-2! Let's break down the game.
The back up quarterback conundrum was a major storyline heading into tonight's game. Matt Ryan barely played before Sean Renfree entered the game. He'd play the majority of the first half and into the second half, putting forth an admirable performance that included a 25 yard touchdown pass to Carlton Mitchell. Interestingly Renfree took a nasty hit making that throw. I'll give him credit for really hanging in there and completing the pass. He did mishandle a snap at one point, resulting in a fumble that Colin Mooney recovered. Rex "Sexy Rexy" Grossman would replace him in the second half and get sacked repeatedly. I'll be honest, Rex looks like he's gained a few pounds. Maligned back up TJ Yates didn't play at all. It would appear the writing is on the wall there.
There were some highlights in the running game worth mentioning. Tevin Coleman had a fantastic first quarter, rattling off long run after long run. The kid is definitely talented. Running like that behind a piecemeal offensive line isn't easy. Good to see him turn it around after a decidedly unimpressive showing in his preseason debut last week.
On defense it was a mixed bag. Jalen Collins played well on special teams but continued to struggle in coverage; he's got a lot of work ahead of him. Grady Jarrett, however, is looking like a finished product, absolutely destroying blockers. Jarrett may be the biggest steal in the 2015 NFL draft. Roster bubble dweller Dezmen Southward needed a great game to secure a roster spot. He came up big on special teams, recovering a fumble. Shortly after that, he absolutely leveled a ball carrier. Apparently Dan Quinn was showering him with praise after the hit, for what that's worth. Then, in the fourth quarter, he gave up two touchdowns. Yikes.