Friday, December 16, 2011
Ryan, White lead Falcons rout of Jaguars
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireThe Atlanta Falcons stormed to a large lead Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, never looking back and allowing themselves to turn their focus to a key game against their division-rival New Orleans Saints next week.
Matt Ryan (left) and Julio Jones celebrate a first-quarter touchdown in the Falcons rout of the Jaguars.
The Falcons have won two straight and four of their last five. At 9-5, they currently hold the fifth seed in the NFC.
They also clinched their fourth consecutive winning season, the longest such streak in franchise history.
Matt Ryan improved to 25-4 at the Georgia Dome. Only Danny White (25-3) needed fewer starts to record 25 HOME wins among quarterbacks who debuted in the Super Bowl era.
The Falcons have made the Georgia Dome one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. Since 2008, only the Patriots and Ravens have higher home win percentages in that span.
Ryan found an early groove with wideout Roddy White on thursday. The two connected for 10 receptions, 135 yards and two scores.
For White, he passed the 1,000-yard mark in receiving for the fifth consecutive season to set a new Falcons franchise record. He is just one of 10 active wide receivers with at least five seasons of 1,000 yards receiving.
White also is within range of passing Terrance Mathis for the most receiving yards in Falcons history. His 135 yards Thursday puts him 171 yards out from tying the franchise mark.
On the ground, Falcons running back Michael Turner also found the end zone. His rushing touchdown gave him 48 as a Falcon, tying Gerald Riggs' team record. Only Adrian Peterson (51) has more rushing touchdowns since the start of 2008.
The Falcons and Saints meet on Monday Night Football in New Orleans next week. Atlanta lost its earlier meeting with New Orleans this season in overtime, when Falcons coach Mike Smith opted to go for it on fourth down from his own side of the field. Atlanta failed to convert, giving the Saints a short field which ultimately set up the game-winning field goal.
For the Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew was arguably the lone bright spot, rushing for 112 yards on 17 carries. It was his fourth 100-yard game of the season and he leads the NFL with 1,334 rushing yards on the season.
Jacksonville became the first team to score at least 41 points, and then allow at least 41 in consecutive games since the 2009 Giants. The Jaguars beat the Buccaneers 41-14 last week, the same score they lost by in Atlanta on Thursday.
After spotting the Falcons a 41-0 lead, the Jaguars scored their first touchdown on Zach Potter's 46-yard return of a blocked punt. It was tied for the second-longest return of a blocked punt for a touchdown since the merger.