To face the international crowd, the Falcons embarked on a journey to London.
In reality, the Falcons’ journey to London was marred by an uninspiring offense led by the lackluster Desmond Rider, marred by uninspiring crimes and some major defensive errors.
Atlanta couldn’t convert some strong drives into points and once again managed the game on the road with less than 10 points.
The Falcons are now just .500, a point we probably expected before the season, considering how strong their opponents looked in the first four games. However, the way they have lost their last two games is disappointing.
Fans and analysts are asking the right questions about how Rider is playing, how the coaching staff is handling this offense (or, as the case may be, not handling it successfully), and why there are so many mistakes for a team with so much talent.
Despite some major blunders in the past two weeks, the defense has been able to hold its own in keeping the Falcons in the game; however, if the offense doesn’t come to life soon, those efforts could be in vain.
The Jaguars played a fast-paced game and took full advantage of every benefit given to them by the Falcons. Trevor Lawrence showed promise, and the Jaguars’ pass rush feasted on Atlanta’s pass protection, while Lawrence effectively managed the run game against the Falcons’ defense. In a different, less error-filled game, Atlanta could have made it much more competitive against Jacksonville.
Facing a home game against the Texans, the Falcons need to fix this and do some soul-searching. They need to figure out if they are willing and capable of enduring Rider’s growing pains, how they can involve the talented Drake London and Kyle Pitts to lift the offense, and how they can avoid errors in pass protection that have plagued their game throughout the season.
Looking at the body language and collective faces of this team, it’s clear they are not content with a 2-2 record and they shouldn’t be.
It’s still early, and the weak NFC South offers a decent chance for the Falcons to get back on track, but they cannot afford to carry the baggage of the past two games, be it personnel changes, faster execution, or coaching staff revival. Imagine what they’re cooking up on a weekly basis, or all of the above.
If you want to breathe life into this once again, it’s your decision. It’s coming from all sides.
After the Falcons won and the coin toss was made, Travis Etienne got his first chance in the game and gained about four yards. A second straight carry by Kerry went another four yards. On third down, a quick swing pass to Etienne was converted, and then Tank Bigsby got a couple of yards on first down.
After a short pickup by Richie Grant, Ivan Ingram was faced with a third down. On third down, the Jaguars called a timeout and then Trevor Lawrence missed a sideline pass to Ingram. Pant was turned inside five and the Falcons took possession within ten.
Bijan Robinson got his first carry, and he gained almost a yard on the first down, with Jacksonville immediately in the backfield. On the next play, Kerry went nowhere, keeping the Falcons established for the third and long. Robinson caught the ball and missed a player on the third down, but missed turning the ball into a goal. Pant, and it was a complete boom by Bradley Pinion.
Lawrence took a quick strike, but Richie Grant was ready for the tackle just three yards away. On the second down, pressure mounted, but Lawrence was able to run over 20 yards, which is not ideal. On the first down, Lawrence took it again on a bootleg for about six yards.
Etienne got a yard on the next carry, and then Kailis Campbell forced a third-down throwaway with heavy pressure. Unfortunately, Lawrence hit Christian Kirk in the middle on the first down despite good pressure from Grant. The Jaguars lost on their first possession, but despite Grant’s strong pressure, Lawrence found Ridley in the end zone for the first score of the game. 7-0 Jaguars.
First, Rider attempted to run and couldn’t get anywhere. Then, Bijan got a quick swing pass to gain three yards. Neutral zone infraction took the Falcons to third and first down again, and then Rider was sacked on third down, looking like he held the ball when he should have released it to Bijan. Punt.
D’Alford made a great play on the first down to bring down Etienne for a loss of about eight yards. After that, Etienne ran for the first time, gaining seven yards, and then Lawrence fired a zip to Kirk for 25 in the middle of the field.
Bigsby then got nine yards on the first down, but a penalty on Jacksonville pushed them back ten yards. Ingram caught it for a five-yard gain, and then the quarter mercifully ended.
Jesse Betts came on a safety blitz on third down and forced a poor throw, and eventually, a field goal attempt. Hit from 56 made it 10-0 Jaguars.
In the early game, Robinson got the toss, gaining four yards. The second game was a throw for Drake London in traffic, but the pass was incomplete. Then, Jonnu Smith caught it for the first time, 15 yards away from Rider.
Robinson took a yard on the first down, and then Rider launched it downfield for London on the second down, but the defender was on top of him, and the ball fell to the turf. On the third down, pressure was immediate, and Rider was sacked for a loss of 14 yards. Punt.
Jesse Betts stole the ball for the first time from Engram’s hands, but Engram fell on it five yards away. Then Kirk caught it for three yards, and Bad Dupree stopped Lawrence from going far from the first down marker on third down. Punt.