Falcons veteran backup quarterback Matt Schaub has been quietly dusting off his skills this exhibition season.
Schaub, who turned 38 in June, was stellar before giving way to Matt Simms but the Falcons loss 34-27 to the Dolphins Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium. It was the Falcons’ 10th straight exhibition defeat.
“I thought the 12 penalties were really a factor in this one,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said.
The Falcons rallied to tie the game 27-27 but went for it on bizarre call on fourth-and-9 from their own 16-yard line. Simms was sacked for a loss of 10 yards and Miami scored on a 6-yard run on the next play for the final margin.
Simms drove the Falcons down to Miami’s 25 yard line, but couldn’t connect with wide receiver Devin Gray for a potential game-tying score in the final minute.
In part because of pre-game rain, the Falcons elected not to play starting quarterback Matt Ryan and a host of others. Schaub played the first half and showed again that he could be ready if needed.
Schaub completed 12 of 19 passes for 172 yards and finished with a 92.4 rating after playing half of the game. The Falcons were up 19-13 after two quarters.
“We moved the ball and had some extended drives,” Schaub said. “We still hurt ourselves with some penalties and put ourselves in some tough situations with the down and distance markers, especially down in the red zone.”
Schaub was crisp on the Falcons’ opening drive. He marched the team 90 yards over 13 plays and took 8 minutes and 38 seconds off the clock.
Running back Ito Smith scored on a 1-yard run.
In the drive, Schaub converted on all three of third downs. He found wide receiver Russell Gage out to his left and then to his right on the second third-down conversion. The third conversion came on a Miami penalty.
Also, Schaub threw a nice deep ball to undrafted rookie wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus that picked up 28 yards.
In subsequent drives, the Falcons punted, made field goals of 38 and 29 yards by Giorgio Tavecchio and scored a touchdown, on a 1-yard run by Brian Hill.
The second touchdown came while the Falcons were working out of their two-minute hurry-up offense just before the half.
On the last touchdown drive, running back Kenjon Barner caught a short screen pass and picked up a nice block by tight end Jaeden Graham and appeared to score a 38-yard touchdown. After a replay review, Barner’s knee was determined to be down at the 1-yard line.
The Falcons (0-2) host the New York Jets (0-1) at 7:30 p,m. on Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in their exhibition-season home opener.
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