Thursday, December 15, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Falcons 41, Jaguars 14
By Pat Yasinskas
ATLANTA -- Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons’ 41-14 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome:
What it means: The Falcons are 9-5 and very much in the playoff picture. They won with ease and might have put forth their most complete game of the season. There were explosive plays in the passing game and from the pass rush and it all came together in a short week. The best news of all might be that the Falcons can build off this performance because they’ll have a few extra days to get ready for their next game, which might be the biggest game of the season (see below). With the big lead, coach Mike Smith began resting some of his starters late in the third quarter. The extra time off might allow the Falcons to get injured cornerbacks Brent Grimes (knee) and Kelvin Hayden (toe) back in the lineup.
Throwback game: Defensive end John Abraham is 33 and, because he came into the game with just five sacks on the season, there was some talk that age was catching up to him. But Abraham showed he’s got something left in the tank. He had 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and was a major reason Jacksonville couldn’t get anything going in the passing game. Abraham had plenty of help. Defensive tackle Corey Peters and defensive end Ray Edwards also were productive in the pass rush.
Milestone time: Atlanta’s Roddy White went over 1,000 receiving yards for the fifth consecutive season, a franchise record. White also became just the eighth receiver in NFL history to have five straight 1,000-yard seasons with at least 80 catches in each season. White started slowly this year, but has come on strong lately. He caught two touchdowns against the Jaguars and now has at least one touchdown catch in each of the past four games.
What I liked: The Falcons were consistently good throughout the game. I don’t think you could say that about their previous 13 games.
What I didn’t like: Rookie punter Matt Bosher was having a good game, until he had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Troubling trend: Running back Michael Turner was held under 100 rushing yards for the fourth consecutive game. Since his arrival in Atlanta in 2008, Turner has had only one other four-game stretch in which he failed to reach 100 yards.
What’s next: The Falcons play the Saints in a "Monday Night Football" game in New Orleans on Dec. 26.