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Week 16 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 12, Atlanta Falcons 24


What you need to know

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguar offense sputtered for three quarters before somewhat coming to life late in the game (again). The offense cannot get Fournette involved at all because the team cedes big leads early in the game. They also are not good enough at passing the football to have any drive-to-drive or play-to-play consistency when playing from behind.

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta earned four offensive series and 14 points during the first quarter of this game, which essentially were all the Falcons needed to win the contest and put them at 5-2 during the final half of the season. The story of this game was Atlanta picking on linebacker Donald Payne up the left flat with Devonta Freeman as the receiver and the Falcons special teams making big plays. Atlanta drove the length of the field on its opening series with a mix of effective passes and runs. Freeman accounted for 33 of the 82 yards on the drive as a receiver and a runner, capping the series with a 17-yard score on a misdirection toss to the left. Atlanta’s fullback Keith Smith forced a fumble on the subsequent kickoff and Brian Hill recovered the ball inside the Jacksonville 25. Freeman put Atlanta up by 14 within the first five minutes of the game on a spot route under the Jaguars zone for an eight-yard. Ryan began the first quarter eight-for-eight on a mix of short and intermediate passes and had the most success on short routes in the middle of the field and intermediate routes to the perimeter. He did a good job flushing from the pocket or throwing off platform on the move on some of these targets He got too aggressive and hung a ball on a deep route for Julio Jones that Tre Herndon cut off while working across the field for an interception early in the second quarter. Atlanta’s defensive line was effective at earning pressure during the first half with tackle-end twists, including a Vic Beasley sack of Gardner Minshew inside the Jaguars’ five yard-line. Julio Jones earned 100 yards during Atlanta’s first drive of the third quarter. Atlanta’s punt team pinned Jacksonville inside the two yard-line at the end of the first half and midway through the third quarter and enhanced the defense’s opportunities for pressure and led to a pair of three-and-outs.

Jacksonville Jaguars

QB Gardner Minshew, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 31 - 181 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 36 - 0
Minshew and the offense continue to play poorly and fail to move the ball until late in the game. He was able to avoid a sack on the second drive by flipping the ball to Leonard Fournette for an incomplete while in the grasp of a defender. He almost threw an interception (that likely would have been returned for a touchdown) on a throw to the sticks on 3rd down. The defender was playing Chris Conley in man coverage and jumped the route right at the 1st down marker, but dropped the pass. He finally had an impressive play on a 3rd down during the opening drive of the 3rd quarter, where he subtly reset in the pocket to find Chris Conley over the middle. However, the play was negated by a holding penalty. He had two nice back-to-back scrambles later in the 3rd, but was sacked on the next play. His one major positive passing play (42 yard Go route to Chris Conley) was slightly underthrown and Conley had to wait a beat for the ball to arrive.

RB Leonard Fournette, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 71 - 0, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (6 targets)
Fournette continues to be plagued by game-flow issues, as the Jaguars were down 14-0 before they even had their first possession of the day. He gets positive yards on his touches and runs hard, but the team is unable to feed him the ball and make him the foundation of the offense. He had an impressive 23-yard run early in the 2nd quarter, where he broke two tackles for additional yardage.

WR Dede Westbrook, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (4 targets)
Westbrook received the first two targets of the game (both short). The second was a drop on 3rd and 4 that killed the JaguarsÕ first drive of the game. After his drop, he was not targeted again until the 4th quarter (a well-covered Go route).

WR Chris Conley, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 56 - 1 (5 targets)
Conley drew the most targets of the pass catchers, but had an overall inefficient day. He drew a Defensive Holding penalty late in the 3rd quarter that kept the drive alive and helped put the Jaguars into field goal range. He scored a touchdown on one of the few positive plays of the game for the Jaguars Ð a 42 yard Go route. He beat the defender in man coverage and tracked the ball nicely (slightly underthrown). His only other reception was a big conversion on 4th and 10 late in the game, a Deep Out.

WR D.J. Chark, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (7 targets)
Chark did not receive a target until the end of the first half. It was a poorly thrown slant, thrown behind him where he could not make the catch. He received the opening target of the second half, picking up around 15 yards on a Deep Out route where he found a void in the defenseÕs zone coverage. He caught a screen pass for one yard later in the drive, then did not record a catch for the remainder of the game. He drew a Pass Interference penalty late in the 3rd quarter on an in-cutting route.

WR Keelan Cole, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (2 targets)
He gained around 7 yards on a Los Angeles Rams-style Jet Sweep. His only other touch came late in the 4th quarter, a 23-yard Corner route.

TE Seth DeValve, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (6 targets)
Devalve recorded all three of his catches in the 4th quarter in garbage time. He broke a 20 yard catch-and-run on his second reception when the defender fell down trying to attempt a tackle.


Atlanta Falcons

QB Matt Ryan, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 45 - 384 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0
Atlanta took an early lead with a good mix of pass and run during its first drive. Ryan found three different receivers for first downs during the first drive, including a slant from an empty set to Julio Jones, a flare-out to Devonta Freeman for 17, and play-action throw-back to Austin Hooper on a corner route to the Jacksonville 17 that set up a 17-yard score on a toss play to Freeman. Ryan found Freeman again five minutes later with an eight-yard spot-route under the Jaguars’ zone to put the Falcons up by 14. Ryan threaded the needle to Julio Jones on a corner route against A.J. Bouye on third-and-two during the third series for a 24-yard gain to get to midfield. Ryan found Jones on a curl route in the right flat for a first down later in the drive. Ryan converted another third-down play with a check-down to Freeman during Atlanta’s third drive, doing a good job of sliding from edge pressure to find the back. This set up a missed field goal attempt from 42 yards to end the drive. Ryan began the second quarter with a flush to his right and throw on the move to Hooper over the middle in traffic for a first down. Ryan got too confident on the next play, rolling right and going deep to Jones up the right flat and hanging the pass into the air for Tre Herndon to work across the field and pick off the pass. Ryan found Jones breaking inside for 12 yards with less than a minute in the half for a first down with an off-platform throw under pressure to get Atlanta into field goal range. Ryan opened the second half with a third-down conversion on a rail route to Freeman who made a back-shoulder catch near midfield. He followed up with a slant for 25 yards to Jones. Jarrad Wilson cut off Ryan’s target of Julio Jones on a crossing route midway through the third quarter, intercepting the pass and ending a drive that was approaching the Jacksonville red zone.

RB Devonta Freeman, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 53 - 1, Rec: 9 - 74 - 1 (11 targets)
Ryan found Freeman in the left flat with a line drive that the back caught with a defender glued to him and the defender dropped Freeman for a loss of a yard on the third play of the game. Freeman ran a flare out to the left flat on the next play and broke through the wrap of the linebacker for a gain of 17 and a first down. Freeman took a misdirection toss to the left flat for a 17-yard score to cap off the drive, running untouched through the Jacksonville defense. Freeman ran a spot route to the left flat to cap off the second drive and turned through the safety at the two for his second score within the first five minutes of the game. Atlanta tried another misdirection toss to Freeman late in the first quarter but Jacksonville stuffed it for a three-yard loss. On the next play, Yannick Ngakoue knocked down a target intended for Freeman on a throw-out to the left flat. Ryan found Freeman over the middle on third-down with a check-down for a first down. Freeman split a pair of linebackers for the yardage. Center Alex Mack held on a second-quarter Freeman run for at least 15 yards that the officials nullified. Freeman earned the ball again for a short gain on the next play. Freeman made multiple men miss when penetration forced Freeman wide on a run off right tackle, but the Jaguars had the numbers advantage in the backfield and dropped Freeman for a seven-yard loss. Wes Schweitzer’s hold on the next play, nullified a 12-yard gain on a draw play to Freeman. Ryan found Freeman on another flare out for a short gain up the left flat with less than two minutes in the half. Later in the drive, Freeman caught a Texas Route with a nice extension towards the middle of the field coverage to get inside the Jacksonville 15 to set up a first down with 38 seconds left at the Atlanta 13. Freeman earned six yards on his first two carries of the second half and then earned the ball a third-consecutive time for a 14-yard gain and a first-down on a leaping back-shoulder rail route up the left sideline against the same linebacker he beat routinely in the first half—Donald Payne. Freeman had a 24-yard gain up the middle called back when Jaeden Graham committed a holding foul with 4:23 left.

RB Brian Hill, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 66 - 0
He recovered a fumble on Atlanta’s first kickoff of the game inside the Jaguars’ 25. Hill made one more cut than he should have on his first carry for a short gain up the middle during the third drive for Atlanta. Hill bounced the next run to the right edge thanks to good blocks by Austin Hooper and Justin Gage for a first down and a gain across midfield later in the drive. He pushed his way for two more off left guard on the next carry. Gage converted a slant for a 13-yard gain against tight coverage from a bunch set on a third-down midway through the second quarter to get Atlanta across midfield once again. Hill’s standout play on special teams continued in the second quarter when he worked into position to down a punt at the Jacksonville one with about five minutes left. Hill then downed another punt inside the Jacksonville two, midway through the third quarter. Hill earned 12 yards with a nice cutback behind the left side of the line and finished strong at the end of the run with good pad level late in the third quarter. Hill earned 18 yards up the middle on a cutback inside rookies Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary at end the third quarter, nearly breaking into open field if not for cornerback A.J. Boye’s tackle. Hill worked the cutback inside Lindstrom on the next play for another 18 and set it up with another nice press to the line of scrimmage. He followed up with a twisting run through contact up the middle to get inside the Jaguars’ three for at least seven yards.

RB Qadree Ollison, 1 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 1
The rookie bulled his way through contact from three yards out on an I-formation run between the two tight ends opening the crease to put Atlanta up 16 before the extra point.

WR Julio Jones, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 166 - 0 (15 targets)
Ryan found Jones on a slant from the slot in an empty set on the second play of the game. Jones picked up the first down with a sliding catch for a short gain. Ryan threaded the needle to Julio Jones on a corner route against A.J. Bouye on third-and-two during the third series for a 24-yard gain to get to midfield. Ryan found Jones again and with good placement to Jones’s back shoulder on a target over the middle to avoid leading him into contact but Jones dropped the ball. Jones earned a first down on a curl route in the flat underneath a cushion and made the play with Bouye wrapping him at the back. Ryan tried to squeeze a dig route into tight coverage at the end of the first quarter during its fourth possession but Jones dropped the ball after contact. Ryan got too confident on the next play, rolling right and going deep to Jones up the right flat and hanging the pass into the air for Tre Herndon to work across the field and pick off the pass. Jones earned a quick slant to begin the next series against an open cushion for 17 yards. Ryan found Jones breaking inside for 12 yards with less than a minute in the half for a first down with an off-platform throw under pressure to get Atlanta into field goal range. Jones earned a few yards on a crossing route to reach the Jaguars’ 10 with about 20 seconds left. Jones earned 25 yards on a slant during Atlanta’s first drive of the third quarter to get into field goal range. Jones dropped an arrow route in the left flat when trying turn up field before he secured it. Jarrad Wilson cut off Ryan’s target of Julio Jones on a crossing route midway through the third quarter, intercepting the pass and ending a drive that was approaching the Jacksonville red zone. Jones earned 33 yards on an out route on a play-action throw-back to the left sideline with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. Jones bailed out Atlanta on an over route against Bouye on a third-and-long in the fourth quarter to dig Atlanta out of a possession deep in its own territory. Jones earned over 20 yards and dug Atlanta out of its territory again late in the fourth quarter on an out route on a well-anticipated throw into tight coverage.

WR Russell Gage, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (6 targets)
He earned four on the first play of the game with a Jet Sweep to left end. Gage earned four yards near the hash to get Atlanta inside the Jaguars’ eight on the second drive of the game. He found Gage on a crossing route for seven yards to end the first quarter. Ryan found Gage in the middle of the second quarter with a slant over the middle for a 17-yard gain on second-and-long. Ryan overthrew Gage on an over route on the next play, forcing a punt. Gage earned three yards on an end-around late in the third quarter and followed up with a stop route up the left flat on third down for a seven-yard gain and a first down.

TE Austin Hooper, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 82 - 0 (9 targets)
Ryan found Hooper on a play-action throw-back to Hooper on a corner route, who got wide open thanks to Olamidea Zaccheaus’ deeper route running off the zone. The pay got Atlanta to the 17 and set up a toss play to Freeman for a 17-yard touchdown. Hooper caught a stop route at the hash for six yards between defenders to begin the third drive. Ryan began the second quarter with a flush to his right and throw on the move to Hooper over the middle in traffic for a first down. Hooper earned another stop route against man coverage underneath for a four-yard gain with a little over a minute left and then Ryan tried to squeeze the ball into Hooper on the next play but the coverage knocked the ball away to set up a third and six. Hooper earned a pass working back to the quarterback along the right sideline but didn’t get out of bounds on the short gain and forced Atlanta to take a timeout late in the half. Hooper backed his way inside the five on a third-down throw to the sideline with less than 15 seconds in the half to set up a 23-yard field goal to effectively end the half and put Atlanta up by 14 once again. Ryan delivered a third-down top route to Hooper while under pressure. Hooper got his hands on the accurate throw but failed to secure it while going to the ground, forcing a punt. Hooper earned long catch on a deep corner route late in the game to put Atlanta at midfield late.

TE Jaeden Graham, 9 offensive snaps
His most impactful play was a holding call with 4:23 left that negated a 24-yard run from Freeman.