The Falcons jumped on the Jaguars early and held on for a 24-12 victory in the regular-season home finale Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
After the first couple of minutes, it was a yawner of a game.
Here are the grades:
Run offense: The Falcons rushed for 135 yards on 27 carries for a strong 5.0 yards per carry. It was only the fourth time this season when the Falcons rushed for more than 100 yards. The Falcons won three of those games. They rushed for 103 yards in a loss to Arizona on Oct. 13 and for 143 yards in the 26-9 win over the Saints on Nov. 10. The Falcons had a season-high 159 yards in the win over the Panthers on Dec. 8. On Sunday, Brian Hill rushed seven times for 66 yards, while Devonta Freeman rushed for 53 yards on 13 carries. “We felt like we saw some creases of film and we just wanted to attack them aggressively whenever that we saw on film,” Hill said. Freeman got his second rushing touchdown of the season, and rookie running back Qadree Ollison had a 3-yard touchdown run. Grade: A
Pass offense: Matt Ryan completed 32 of 45 passes for 384 yards and one touchdown. He threw two interceptions and finished with a passer rating of 85.8. Julio Jones caught 10 passes for 166 yards. Tight end Austin Hooper caught seven passes for 74 yards, and Freeman added nine catches for 74 yards and a touchdown reception. Five receivers caught passes, including fullback Keith Smith, who caught his first pass of the season. Grade: B
Run defense: De’Vondre Campbell continued his strong season, as he finished with nine tackles. The Jaguars rushed for 115 yards on 24 carries for a strong 4.8 yards per carry average. Leonard Fournette had 71 yards rushing on 15 carries. Quarterback Gardner Minshew scrambled seven times and picked up 36 yards rushing. The Falcons did a good job of gang-tackling Fournette. Grade: B
Pass defense: The much-hyped Minshew was disappointing. He was held to 57 yards passing through three quarters. He did connect on a nice 42-yard touchdown pass to Chris Conley, who made a finger-tip grab. Minshew completed 13 of 31 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. He finished with a passer rating on 72.1. Cornerbacks Isaiah Oliver (two) and Blidi Wreh-Wilson (two) had pass breakups. Also, linebacker Deion Jones had one pass breakup. The Falcons had three sacks and five quarterback hits. Grade: B
Special teams: Returner Kenjon Barner bobbled a punt, and the Jags converted on a fake punt, when punter Logan Cooke completed a pass for 7 yards to pick up a first down. Kicker Younghoe Koo missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt that went wide left. Punter Ryan Allen placed two punts inside the 2-yard line that were downed by Hill. Also, Smith forced a fumble while in kickoff coverage that was recovered by Hill. Grade: C-plus
Coaching: The Falcons should have blown the Jaguars out of the stadium, but penalties kept killing promising drives. The Falcons finished with nine penalties for 64 yards. Grade: B
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