Report card: Dolphins 34, Falcons 7

Running back Malik Williams helps himself in roster bid
Falcons linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee levels Miami Dolphins wide receiver Rashawn Scott during the first quarter in a NFL preseason game on Thursday, August 30, 2018, in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton/



Falcons linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee levels Miami Dolphins wide receiver Rashawn Scott during the first quarter in a NFL preseason game on Thursday, August 30, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/

The Falcons’ deep reserves were no match for the Dolphins, who started most of their second team along with veteran quarterback Brock Osweiler.

The number of tickets distributed for the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was announced as 71,192, but most fans elected not to attend.

Here are the grades for the Falcons from their 34-7 loss Thursday to the Miami Dolphins in the fourth exhibition game:

Run offense: Justin Crawford opened the game at running back. Malik Williams came in second and ran with authority. He caught a screen and hurdled a defender on the best offensive play of the first half, a 16-yard gain. He continued to run hard and scored on a 8-yard run late in the second quarter when he plowed through four tacklers in a determined run.  Grade: D

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Pass offense: Falcons quarterback Adam Benkert looked good running around even though he didn't get much production. Receivers Reggie Davis and Devin Gray dropped passes. Also, Benkert underthrew one to Gray, who'd gotten behind the defender. On the second third down of the game, left tackle Matt Gono was beaten badly by Miami's Jonathan Woodard on a speed rush. He also gave up a sack in the second quarter to Claudy Mathieu. Benkert played three quarters and was 10-of-25 for 103 yards. He threw two interceptions and was sacked three times. He finished with a 19.2 quarterback rating. Grade: F

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Run defense: Linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee, an undrafted player from Rice, was all over the field. He was delivering hits, too. There were at least four missed tackles on the first two touchdown drives by the Dolphins, including two on Kalen Ballage's 9-yard touchdown run. Grade: D 

» More: What Falcons said after loss to Dolphins 

Pass defense: Osweiler was killing the defense underneath and in the flats before leaving the game and later returning. The Falcons linebackers were slow to recognize plays and then slow to get out to the receivers. Osweiler, the castoff from Denver, Houston and Cleveland, completed 11 of 14 passes for 105 yards and one touchdown in the first half. He had a passer rating of 121.7 before returning to the game in the third quarter. Osweiler was replaced by David Fales and then he relieved him. Fales came back in. "Yes, it was good," Miami coach Adam Gase said. "They had a good tempo going. They took advantage of some of the calls versus the coverages they ran. They got some explosive plays. It was good to see." The Dolphins were able to get some pressure without blitzing. "Yes, the front is doing a good job," Gase said at halftime. "They're applying pressure on four-man rushes. (Defensive coordinator) Matt (Burke) isn't really calling any blitzes. That's really been the strong point for us is that four-man rush." Linebacker Emmanuel Smith and cornerback Chris Lammons combined to strip the ball and create an interception in the second quarter. Grade: F

Special teams: The versatile David Marvin did a nice job punting for Matt Bosher. He had 11 punts for 503 yards (45.7 yards per punt). He booted two punts 58 yards and placed one punt inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Crawford hesitated on his kickoff return and rookie Isaiah Oliver hesitated after catching a punt return. The punt coverage unit received plenty of action and didn't allow a big return and Terrence Magee recovered a fumble in punt coverage. The kickoff return unit gave up a 33-yard return to Greg Joseph. Grade: C

Coaching: Great move by the staff to rest the starters and the key reserves before the season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. Unless someone was injured rushing to the ice-cream machine at halftime, the Falcons will be near full strength for the opener. The reserves had the opportunity to get plenty of action on tape. Most of them will be released Friday, but they now have something to show other, lesser-talented teams around the league. Grade: A-plus 

Injury report: Williams and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson left the game with shoulder injuries and did not return. Williams had seven rushes for 20 yards and caught two passes for 35 yards.

» Must read: 5 keys to Falcons' season

Next up: The Falcons will play the Eagles at 8:20 p.m. Thursday in the regular-season opener at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.