The Jaguars improved to 2-2 on the season and the Falcons dropped to 2-2.
The Falcons wasted a dazzling performance by rookie running back Bijan Robinson, while quarterback Desmond Ridder had a tough day passing the football, which included tossing two interceptions.
The Falcons, who are hoping to end a streak of five seasons without making the playoffs, didn’t stack up against a team that went to the playoffs last season.
This was the first of three games this season against 2022 playoff teams. They have two games left against the Bucs, who also went to the playoffs last season.
Robinson had 14 carries for 105 yards and caught five passes for 32 yards. Jeff Okudah made his first start at cornerback for the Falcons.
Ridder completed 19 of 31 passes for 191 yards. He tossed a touchdown pass to go with his two interceptions. He finished with an anemic 62.7 passing rating.
Also, running back Cordarrelle Patterson made his 2023 season debut after overcoming a thigh injury. He was in to return kicks and did play from scrimmage.
With the offense continuing to sputter about, the Jaguars built a 17-0 halftime lead and cruised to victory.
Ridder had a dismal first half. He completed 9 of 14 passes for 73 yards, the two picks and he was sacked three times. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown. He had a passer rating of 37.8 in the first half.
The deficit could have been more if the Jaguars had attempted a field goal after the second interception, but the defense sacked Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence on fourth-and-1 to get a stop.
After an exchange of punts to open the game, the Jaguars went on the move. The went for it on a fourth down-and-1 from the Falcons’ 38. Lawrence completed a 10-yard pass over the middle to wide receiver Christian Kirk. On first down the Jags loss 2 yards.
On second-and-12, the Falcons got burned by the blitz. Lawrence side stepped a blitzing Richie Grant and tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to former Falcons Calvin Ridley.
The Falcons’ second possession ended with a punt after a sack on third down.
The Jaguars added a 56-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to make it 10-0.
The Falcons’ third offensive possession ended with a sack. The defense held and the offense had the ball again and finally went on the move.
Ridder drove the Falcons from their 13-yard line to the Jaguars’ 45.
Then things went haywire for Ridder on his next two passes. His pass intended for Drake London, who was not open at all, was intercepted by Jacksonville cornerback Darious Williams and he returned it 61 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0.
After the kickoff, Ridder’s next pass was intercepted by safety Andre Cisco, who jumped Kyle Pitts’ route over the middle. He returned it 18 yards before Falcons fullback Keith Smith forced a fumble. However, former Falcons, linebacker Foye Oluokun recovered.
Thanks to Jarrett and Onyemata’s stop, the Falcons made it to halftime and could try to regroup.
The Falcons received the ball to start the third quarter.
Ridder shook off those two interceptions and took the Falcons on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped with a 15-yard touchdown pass to London.
The defense forced a punt and the Falcons had the ball again, but that drive stalled and ended with a punt.
The Jaguars went on a 13-play, 65-yard drive that took 7:21 off the clock and carried into the fourth quarter. McManus made a 43-yard field to make it 20-7 with 10:36 to play.
The Falcons went on a drive, but on fourth down-and-3 from the Jacksonville 6-yard, Ridder’s pass to London was caught, but he was out of bounds with cornerback Tre Herndon in coverage.
The Jaguars drove down and added a 38-yard field goal by McManus with 1:56 to play.
The Falcons’ last-ditch drive ended with a sack-strip by Jacksonville defensive end Josh Allen. It was recovered by Angelo Blackson and the Jaguars ran out the clock.
After flying back over the pond, the Falcons will host the Texans at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Bow Tie Chronicles