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Falcons vs. Jets instant recap: The defenses write the story

The Falcons’ defense holds the Jets to just six points (8 total, thanks to a New York safety) and Atlanta wins again.

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons played the New York Jets on a day where the field was wet and the rain kept falling. If you guessed that would be a hideous, defense-first kind of game, you guessed correctly.

The Jets held the Falcons to just 13 points, with one nice Desmond Ridder touchdown pass proving to be the highlight of the day on that side of the ball. The Falcons defense was even better, however, because despite the Jets getting a safety for the game’s first points, they held New York to just two field goals the rest of the way and paved the way for a big Atlanta victory on the road and in the rain.

You can’t overstate, even with how poor the Jets offense is, how good the Falcons defense was. Despite losing A.J. Terrell early, they forced turnovers, preyed the Jets’ weaknesses, and delivered big plays on crucial downs to hold New York to just eight points overall. When you’re facing a terrible offense you have to ensure they look like a terrible offense, and with the exception of a handful of plays, Atlanta delivered. They have now held opposing offenses without a touchdown in back-to-back weeks, and have almost single-handedly brought the Falcons back to .500 and a solid lead in the NFC South.

Where the team goes from here is anyone’s guess—the offense has to get going at some point—but the defense is putting together some really good efforts with injuries piling up. Being back to 6-6 feels good, and this team continues to push for the playoffs after a much-needed bye. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

Here’s a drive-by-drive recap of the game you just watched.

1st Quarter

The Falcons started things off on a wet field with an ominous note, with the ball slipping out of Desmond Ridder’s hands immediately, though he was fortunate and quick enough to fall on it. On second down, Bijan Robinson ran for about six yards, and then a Ridder strike to Kyle Pitts picked up 16 yards and a first down. Then Ridder tried to hit Cordarrelle Patterson and had it clatter to the ground incomplete. A second down toss play to Robinson went backwards with a Jets defender blowing into the backfield right away, and then Ridder tried to hit Pitts again but Pitts couldn’t come down with it. Punt.

On the first play for the Jets, Tim Boyle threw it away. Breece Hall then had nowhere to run and picked up maybe a yard before David Onyemata got him. Boyle tried Hall on the next play on a short pass but he was stopped well short of the first down marker by A.J. Terrell, who took a helmet-to-helmet hit and was down on the field. Punt, and Dee Alford took it about 10 yards before being brought down/slipping.

Patterson picked up seven yards on first down, and then Patterson picked up about four yards for a first down. On first down, Ridder was under pressure from Quinnen Williams and threw it away. He then missed Pitts on a sideline ball, and then was sacked on third down after failing to escape and had his helmet knocked off. Punt.

Dalvin Cook picked up about four yards on first down. On second down, Boyle found Cook for a first down on an 11 yard pass. A reverse went nowhere on first down, but then Cook found a big hole in the middle of the Falcons defense and picked up 13 on the ground. Cook then got three yards, followed by Hall getting a couple on second down, and then Boyle found Tyler Conklin for a first down. Boyle then threw it sidearm out of bounds before Bud Dupree got a tackle for a loss, bringing up a third down where Dupree got the sack. Punt, and the Falcons got it back on the one yard line.

Ridder dove through the middle of the line to try to buy a little space for the Falcons, but on the next play, the handoff to Robinson was blown up immediately by multiple Jets and he was brought down for a safety. 2-0 Jets.

A handful of yards on first down via the ground, and then a screen to Hall picked up three yards with Clark Phillips making the tackle. Boyle then missed badly on third down. Punt.

2nd Quarter

Robinson made it a yard on first down, and then a couple of yards on second down. On third down, Ridder went for Drake London on the sideline and didn’t get it. Punt, and the Jets started just past their own 40.

A false start immediately backed New York up. On second down, Breece Hall picked up some good yardage, but Clark Phillips got the tackle, Nate Landman punched it out, and Alford fell on the fumble. Falcons ball.

Tyler Allgeier picked up about four yards, and then took it it six yards for a first down on the next play. On the next play, Robinson took it a couple of yards, and then Ridder spun away from pressure and hit Pitts on the sideline for a first down. Allgeier then took it about four yards, and then Ridder threw a zippy ball into the end zone that a diving MyCole Pruitt came up with for a touchdown. 7-2 Falcons.

Boyle had Onyemata in his face immediately, and he rolled out and threw it out of bounds. Hall then picked up about four yards on second down, and Boyle hit Garrett Wilson for six yards and a first down. A flea flicker went 36 yards from Boyle to Xavier Gipson after Jeff Okudah overran the play a bit, unfortunately. Five yards on first down on the run, and then on second down Phillips was a bulldog and kept Hall from getting any yardage. On third down, a Conklin catch was just short of a first down and the Jets decided to go for it, with Boyle getting the first down on the sneak. Cook made it maybe a yard on first down before being driven back and thrown down by Kentavius Street, and then a quick pass to Gipson went for about five yards to set up another third down. Boyle threw it into the dirt to end the drive. The field goal was good. 7-5 Falcons.

Ridder’s first down pass under pressure was just a sideline shot that was so far off the mark it was called intentional grounding. On the next play, Patterson took it a few yards, but then a defensive offsides gave the Falcons five yards and a repeated second down. On third down, Ridder threw an interception, but an illegal contact call gave the Falcons a first down and erased the pick. Robinson tried to make it somewhere but didn’t have any luck and lost a yard, and then Ridder hit Patterson for six yards to set up a 3rd and 5. And then another Pitts couldn’t come up with the low ball from Ridder, and a (declined) pass interference call on Pitts just added insult to injury. Punt.

Hall got a first down on the carry, but then a flag backed the Jets up further and erased the gain. A quick pass to Hall lost two yards, and then Hall picked up five yards on a second down carry, and then Boyle badly missed on third down. Punt, and Alford took it about 10 yards again before a flag flew in and gave the Falcons more yardage.

Robinson took it about five yards, and then Ridder hit Robinson for a first down. Ridder then found Jonnu Smith for a few yards, and on the next play he missed largely because of very obvious defensive pass interference and set up a first down. Ridder hit London on the sideline for eight yards, and then got Robinson again for close to 10 yards a first down deep in Jets territory. The next play was a Ridder throw to London that saw another flag fly in for the Jets, and set up a first and goal from four yards out with seven seconds to go. Ridder then went to Jonnu Smith in the end zone and it wasn’t complete, with Smith calling for a flagg that didn’t come. Koo hit the field goal try and it was 10-5 Falcons.

3rd Quarter

The Falcons immediately allowed a big play, with Garrett Wilson catching an on-target rainbow from Tim Boyle for 30 yards. Breece Hall’s next carry went for a small loss. and then a bobbled catch from a yard or two out went for about seven yards. The next play was a quick pass to Boyle, but Richie Grant delivered a bit hit to ensure Tyler Conklin wouldn’t catch it. The Jets went for in on 4th and 3, and Wilson caught it for a first down. A false start on the Jets backed them up five yards, and then another false start made the problem worse. A quick carry for a few yards got the Jets started, and then Boyle hit Wilson down the sideline for a play that was called a catch on the field, but sure didn’t look like it with Wilson not getting his second foot down. Arthur Smith threw the challenge flag, and it was justifiably called incomplete on review. A very short pass from Boyle to Gipson didn’t get the Jets much, and they set up for the field goal. The Jets hit it. 10-8 Falcons.

The first play of the new drive was a six yard carry for Robinson, and he was dumped for a small loss on second down. On third down, Ridder hit Robinson for a short gain that Robinson turned into a first down. Robinson then took it 12 yards on first down, and Allgeier followed him up for a gain of five. Another nice Allgeier run was erased by a penalty on Pitts. Under pressure, Ridder dirted it on 2nd and 10, and then hit Pitts for a first down. Robinson got about three yards, and then a quick pass to Jonnu Smith picked up the first down. Patterson then took it a couple of yards, and then lost yards on the next play but also fumbled it, thankfully out of bounds thanks to a Patterson swat. On third down, Ridder tried to hit Robinson, but a defender hit him and he didn’t reel it in. Koo was inevitably good from 42. 13-8 Falcons.

Boyle’s pass to tight end Jeremy Rucker was off-target. A false start on Rucker backed the Jets up to 2nd and 15, and then Boyle badly missed his next throw. The third down throw got about five yards, and the Jets had to punt.

Robinson went left for a quick few yards, and then Ridder bounced off his own lineman, fell down, and was sacked. Punt.

Dalvin Cook got a yard on first down, and then after an injury timeout, Boyle threw a beautiful rainbow right into the hands of Jessie Bates. Turnover on downs.

Robinson picked up four yards to end the quarter.

4th Quarter

Robinson then got a toss to kick things off, rolling for close to six yards and setting up a 3rd and 1. A false start call on Drew Dalman backed things up, however. Ridder rolled out to escape pressure and found Pitts again for a first down, and then Robinson went nowhere. On second down, Ridder threw it away toward London. On third down, a throw to Pitts was broken up by D.J. Reed, forcing a Falcons punt.

Trevor Siemian was in the game, and he immediately completed a first down pass to Tyler Conklin. On second down, Hall got nowhere on the ground, but then Siemian threw it behind Wilson to set up 3rd and 15. On third down, the pass was very short, but a late hit call on the Falcons on Kaden Elliss gave the Jets a first down. On the next play, Landman got a hand on the pass and broke it up. Cook then went nowhere on the delayed handoff, but Landman was down after the play. On third down, Lorenzo Carter got a pressure (and nearly a sack) to force the punt.

Ridder’s deep ball to London was way too long and London didn’t know where it was. Robinson then took it five yards, and the third down ball to London was incomplete, and the officiating crew picked up the flag for pass interference, which did not do the Falcons any favors. Punt.

The Jets had the ball around midfield, but Cook got nowhere on first down. On second down, Siemian tried to get away from pressure and was sacked by Dupree and fumbled, though the Jets recovered. On third down, the short pass went a few yards, and the Jets punted.

Robinson took it two yards on first down, and then picked up five on a second down toss play. On third down, a Patterson outside run was blown up, forcing another punt for the Falcons.

Kentavius Street got a tackle for a loss, but Siemian then found a first odwn pass over the middle working against Andre Smith Jr. Siemian then ran it for about eight yards, diving headfirst like Ralph Wiggum through a window, and then Hall got a first down on the ground. On the next play, Siemian had his arm hit by Richie Grant and appeared to fumble, though the ruling on the field was an incomplete pass. Arthur Smith threw the challenge flag, and it was ruled a fumble upon review. Atlanta ball.

Allgeier plunged ahead three yards, and then Allgeier got nothing on second down. On third down, Ridder got out of trouble and slid for a small gain, running the clock down to the two minute warning. Punt, and Pinion pinned the Jets on their own seven yard line.

Siemian’s first pass to Conklin wasn’t even close. On second down, a shot to Conklin was just off his fingertips. The third down shot to Wilson didn’t work, but Phillips was called for pass interference to keep the Jets moving. Gipson then reeled in the first down grab by Siemian for another first down. On first down again, Siemian’s pass was off-target and not complete, and then his second down pass went well over Hall’s head. On third down, Siemian was sacked by Arnold Ebiketie. On fourth down, an offensive holding call was erased by an incomplete, and the Falcons won.