JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The Falcons were in desperate need of a win after unbalanced back-to-back losses.
They had a Sunday in Jacksonville.
It wasn’t as easy as expected after the Falcons took a three-goal lead in the second half, but the “W” came in nonetheless.
The Falcons always have a level of drama in their wins and this one was no different, with a defensive stance at the very end.
They ended up winning a 21-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Stadium, taking the team’s record to 5-6.
Here are three gut reactions to Sunday’s game:
Cordarrelle Patterson hasn’t played much against Dallas. The all-round offensive playmaker didn’t play New England at all.
Was it a coincidence that the offense stopped in these games?
Patterson was active again on Sunday and provided the missing offensive spark in the last losses. He ran the ball as well as he has all season. He was productive as a catcher. And, as he’s shown throughout the season, Patterson has his nose for the end zone.
He scored the Falcons’ first two touchdowns to help build a lead that has proven insurmountable.
Patterson is clearly the Falcons’ MVP, a point now unquestionably after this performance in Jacksonville.
The Falcons have struggled to deal with the ball this season. There are few outings where ground play poses a serious threat, but Sunday’s game counts as one.
It was their best running performance of the season, with the team picking up yards in the first half. Cordarrelle Patterson did most of the damage, with two rushed touchdowns early on, but Wayne Gallman got in on the action as well.
The most important development concerning the running game: the ball carriers had room to run. The offensive line did a solid job creating rushing lanes inside the tackles and away, allowing the rushers to reach second tier.
And while it’s easy to say that’s due in part to poor opposition – we’ll get to that later – the Jaguars entered Sunday’s action at No. 3 in the NFL with 3.9 yards per carry allowed. .
We won’t know if this performance counts as an outlier or a continuing trend, but it was nonetheless a positive development to see the running game go on the offensive like it did in the first half.
It wasn’t as powerful in the second, but the Falcons did enough to get a well-deserved victory.
Defense continues its upward trend
The Falcons defense fought a few weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys, doing things Grady Jarrett said players and coaches didn’t like. They rebounded extremely well, with outstanding performances back-to-back.
They were solid against the New England Patriots, in a loss that fell squarely on the offensive side. They were strong again on Sunday, making life difficult for the Jaguars in the victory. While New England can score a lot of points, the Jaguars don’t fall into this camp. Jacksonville’s offense isn’t doing much well, but the Falcons’ defense played a role in their last tough game.
Dante Fowler had an impact on the passer, Grady Jarrett was his usual dominant self and high school contributed to Trevor Lawrence’s relatively poor performance.
And, for a second straight game, the Falcons struggled to cross the goal line. They gave the Patriots a score – New England scored numerous field goals – and kept Jacksonville from crossing the goal line for nearly three quarters. It was the one time, which was essential for the Falcons to win a game that approached at the end.
And they did it all with Deion Jones inactive with a shoulder injury.
They’ll need a stingy defense if they are to make a real playoff push, which will require victories in the top-level competitions that remain on the schedule.
Call for questions
Now let’s start the Monday mailbag, with the result of Sunday fresh in your minds. Submit your questions here for inclusion in the next edition of Bair Mail.