Listening to the national media before the Atlanta game, it was hard not to feel a little bit giddy.
The Jaguars, many folks predicted, would beat Matt Ryan and his Falcons with ease. The Atlanta Falcons, unfortunately, didn’t get the memo. And the way they handled their business underscored why the Jaguars are a 5-9 team.
The first drive was an augury: Atlanta got the ball first, and drove 80 yards down the field in 8 plays and 4:12, pushed by 44 yards from Julio Jones and FSU product Devonta Freeman knocking over the pylon as he crashed into the end zone on a 5-yard run. Matt Ryan: six for six on the drive.
The second quarter featured a second efficient Ryan drive, culminating in an 11-yard strike to - Jones, putting Atlanta up 14 to 3. Those who were waiting for the Falcons to self-destruct like they did a week before in Charlotte began to realize that wasn’t going to happen.
After trading punts, Jacksonville had the ball inside its own 20 with 1:42 left in the half. Bortles, in 2-minute mode, had the offense on the move against a soft Falcons zone, until throwing one of those classic poorly timed interceptions in the end zone. The interception, returned to the Jacksonville 14, set up a Falcons field goal, putting Atlanta up 17 to 3.
The Jaguars, for a second week in a row, needed some magic in the final 30 minutes.
And, for a moment, they were getting it, chunk play by chunk play, on a 9-play, 4:20-drive that covered 80 yards and cut the Falcons’ lead in half, ending with a Bortles bootleg for the touchdown.
Then Ryan served up a pick to Paul Posluszny, giving Jacksonville the ball inside the 50 and all the momentum in the world, as Bortles moved the ball down the field in a drive that culminated with a strike to Allen Robinson, tying the game up at 17, which was where it stood at the end.
Jacksonville punted the ball back in short order, a three and out forced by an aggressive Falcons’ defense, as each team saw … More