With Patterson leading the way, the Falcons improved to 5-6 on the season, while the Jaguars, who are trying to rebuild around quarterback Trevor Lawrence, dropped to 2-9.
“Having CP back adds an element,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith. “He’s a warrior. He (adds) a big physical presence and he can do a lot for us and that’s clear. It was good to have him back.”
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan added a touchdown pass to Russell Gage, but Patterson was the heartbeat of the offense.
Ryan completed 19 of 29 passes for 190 yards and had a passer rating of 81.1. He also had an interception.
Lawrence, who starred at Cartersville High and Clemson, was held at bay by the Falcons defense that was playing without Deion Jones for the first time in 47 regular-season games.
Lawrence had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with a touchdown and conversion, but a fourth-quarter drive never got moving. He completed 22 of 41 passes for 228 yards and tossed a touchdown and an interception. He finished with a passer rating of 70.
“Hats off to Trevor,” Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell said. “Defensively, we just played as a unit this week. Just came together as one.”
Here are the five things we learned from the game:
1. Pound the rock. The Falcons ran the ball effectively for the first time this season.
“We felt good about the run game regardless of what statistics and situations or whatever,” Arthur Smith said. “We kept chipping way and today was a great job by the entire offense running the football.”
The Falcons rushed for a season-high 150 yards on 28 carries.
In their first touchdown drive, the Falcons rushed five times for 57 yards with Patterson scoring on a seven-yard run around left end.
The Falcons ended their touchdown scoring drought with :38 seconds left in the first quarter. The Falcon hadn’t scored a touchdown over their previous 27 possessions, over two-plus games, and could only muster two field goals.
The last touchdown was a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus in the fourth quarter against the Saints on Nov. 7.
The Falcons were outscored 68-3 in losses to the Cowboys (43-3) on Nov. 14 and the Patriots (25-0) on Nov. 18.
Before Patterson’s touchdown, the Falcons had scored just 25 points in the first quarter this season.
The Falcons rushed for a season-high 150 yards on 28 carries. The previous high was 124 yards rushing on 26 carries against the Eagles in the season opener on Sept. 12.
“When we put our mind to it, we can’t be stopped,” Patterson said.
2. Walker starts. Falcons inside linebacker Deion Jones has been dealing with a shoulder injury for some time and it flared up on Friday, which led to him being placed on the injury report.
Jones, who is second on the team with 92 tackles, was listed as questionable and then declared out for before the game on Sunday. Jones had started 47 consecutive regular-season games going back to Week 12 of the 2018 season.
Credit: Curtis Compton
Credit: Curtis Compton
Second-year linebacker Mykal Walker, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, replaced Jones in the starting lineup. He started in six games as a rookie and was making his first start of the 2021 season.
Walker led the Falcons with 11 tackles. He had nine tackles in the first half, but was victimized in the second half on two-point conversion and missed a big tackle in the open field on running back James Robinson that went for a 26-yard gain.
The Falcons defense entered the game giving up 362.3 yards per game, which ranked 20th in the league. The 28.8 points per game ranked 31st. The Jaguars had 357 total yards and under half of the points per game average.
Walker had nine tackles in the first half, but was victimized in the second half on two-point conversion and missed a big tackle in the open field on running back James Robinson that went for a 26-yard gain.
“Guys are going to step up,” Smith said. “It’s a long season. Deion had something pop up at the end of the week. That’s why we develop the roster. I’m proud as (heck) of Mykal Walker. He stayed ready all year and did a good job or playing that role today.”
Walker led the Falcons with 11 tackles. He also had one pass defensed and a quarterback hit.
3. Dalman relieves Hennessy. Drew Dalman replaced center Matt Hennessy in the second quarter. He was on the field when the Falcons scored their second touchdown on a 12-yard run by Patterson.
On the play, Dalman sealed his man out to the right while fullback Keith Smith, right guard Jalen Mayfield and left tackle Jake Matthews collapsed the middle of Jacksonville’s defense.
Smith had a nice lead block on Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack to help give Patterson a path to the end zone.
“CP is dynamic,” Keith Smith said.
Hennessy started the second half before giving way to Dalman again. The plan was to play two series for Hennessy and then two series for Dalman.
“That was the plan all week with Henny and Drew,” Smith said. “I thought Matt responded. That’s not an easy thing to go through. It was a little unconventional. We thought it was best for our football team. I thought it made us better. We’ll continue to do that.”
4. Turnovers. The Falcons entered the game with a minus-eight turnover differential, which was ranked 30th in the league.
The had a 2-0 turnover advantage until quarterback Ryan tossed an interception to cornerback Tyson Campbell, who played at Georgia, in the second quarter.
Safety Duron Harmon intercepted a Lawrence pass in the second quarter. The Falcons could not convert the turnover into points and were forced to punt.
Two plays later, defensive tackle Anthony Rush hit Robinson low and he fumbled. Defensive tackle Marlon Davidson scooped up the fumble at the Jags’ 29-yard line.
The Falcons couldn’t move the ball and Younghoo Koo came on and made a 43-yard field goal. But the Jags’ defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris committed a leverage penalty and gave the Falcons a first down on the 12.
With a new set of downs gifted to them, the Falcons took advantage and scored on the next play.
5. Second half start. With a 14-3 halftime lead, the Falcons’ defense forced the Jaguars to punt and then the offense promptly went on a nine-play, 86-yard touchdown drive.
Ryan tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Russell Gage to give the Falcons a 21-3 lead.
The Jags added a touchdown on a 7-yard laser shot from Lawrence to wide receiver Tavon Austin. The Jaguars made the two-point conversion to make it 21-11.
The Falcons couldn’t get the offensive moving, while the Jags added a 34-yard Matthew Wright field goal to make it 21-14 with 6:28 to play.
The Falcons defense thwarted the Jaguars’ last-ditch effort to preserve the victory.
“We wanted to come down here and handle business,” outside linebacker Dante Fowler said. “We got the W.”
Fowler started his career with the Jaguars.
“It felt good to come back to Jacksonville and get a sack, for sure,” Fowler said.
The Bow Tie Chronicles
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Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores
Eagles 32, Falcons 6
Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25
Falcons 17, Giants 14
Washington 34, Falcons 30
Falcons 27, Jets 20
Falcons 30, Dolphins 28
Panthers 19, Falcons 13
Falcons 27, Saints 25
Cowboys 43, Falcons 3
Patriots 25, Falcons 0
Next four games
Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28
Tampa Bay at Falcons, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5
Falcons at Carolina, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12
Falcons at San Francisco, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 19