Here are the grades for the Falcons from their 13-7 loss to the Jaguars on Thursday in the second game in the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Run offense: Running back Kelvin Taylor, the former Florida Gator and son of the great Fred Taylor, received the start for the Falcons. He had a nice 14-yard gain in the first quarter on a draw play. He split time with Jhurrell Pressley, who fumbled on the 1-yard line. Tight end Darion Griswold recovered in the end zone for the lone touchdown early in the fourth quarter Grade: C
Pass offense: Matt Simms received the start at quarterback. The backup line wasn’t good enough to protect him. A promising second quarter drive was stopped by a couple of Jacksonville sacks. He connected with Marvin Hall on a 65-yard pass play early in the fourth quarter to set up the touchdown. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 195 yards. Grade: C
Run defense: The run defense was shoddy and gave up more than 130 yards rushing. Grade: F
Pass defense: Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson had perfect coverage on a fade route being ran by Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook. He leaped and tipped Brandon Allen’s pass with his right hand and he intercepted the pass in the end zone to stop Jacksonville’s second possession. Allen and Westbrook would get some revenge later. The two-year experiment to convert Akeem King to cornerback is over. He was badly beaten for a 43-yard touchdown by Westbrook. Allen tossed a nice strike. Linebacker Jermaine Grace intercepted a pass intended for tight end Alex Ellis with 7:44 left in the second quarter. Chris Odom tipped a pass and Sharrod Neasman intercepted in the end zone. Grade B-plus.
Special teams: Punter Matt Bosher had a nice high punt that forced a fair catch early in the second quarter. He boomed six punts for an average of 44 yards. He had punts of 56- and 60-yards. Grade A
Coaching: The coaches get an A for not playing the starters in this one. After the poor showing against the Cardinals in the third exhibition game, they were tempted to see the first-team play for one series, but resisted the temptation. The cuts will start on Friday with the bulk of the 35 players being released. They’ll release the rest on Saturday near the 4 p.m. deadline. Tight end Alex Gray, the international player, will head directly to the practice squad, which can carry up to 11 players. Grade A
Next up: The Falcons open the season against the Chicago Bears at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10 at Soldier Field.
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