NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 12 Game Recap: Atlanta Falcons 21, Jacksonville Jaguars 14

Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs with the ball in the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Led by veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and explosive running back Cordarrelle Patterson, the Atlanta Falcons rolled to a 21-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

 It may not have been a divisional rivalry — or even a conference rivalry — but it was a showcase of two of the brightest rookies in the game — 2021 first overall pick, Trevor Lawrence and 2021 fourth overall pick Kyle Pitts.

With this victory, the Falcons rise up to 5-6, while the Jags drop to 2-9. While Jacksonville’s playoff hopes are long gone, Atlanta keeps their hopes alive with this win.

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Atlanta Falcons

Quarterback

Matt Ryan has led this offense well enough this year, but he's not quite been the “Matty Ice” of old. Ryan went 19-for-30 for 190 yards, one touchdown and an interception today, averaging 6.3 yards per attempt.

It was a solid performance, especially given the caliber of his receiving corps recently.

Running Back

Cordarrelle Patterson has been one of the most exciting players in the NFL this season. Today, he rushed 16 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns on the way to a 73.3 rushing grade on PFF’s first review.

Impressively, Patterson averaged 6.8 yards per attempt and gained around 60% of his yardage after contact.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Ever since Calvin Ridley decided to step away from football a few weeks ago, the Falcons’ receiver room has looked downright bad.

Today, the leading pass-catcher was Russell Gage, who caught six of his seven targets for 62 yards and Ryan’s only passing touchdown today. Gage was the only receiver with more than three catches and more than 30 yards. This receiving room needs some work.

One pass-catcher that doesn’t need as much work is rookie tight end sensation Kyle Pitts. Still, he had an uncharacteristically quiet day. Only targeted three times, he caught two passes for 26 yards.

Offensive Line

The Falcons' offensive line looked pretty good today. Four of the five starters earned overall grades higher than 70.0. While their run blocking was obviously successful, pass-blocking was the real success story.

Player Overall Grade Run-Blocking Grade Pass-Blocking Grade Total Pressures Sacks Hurries Lost reps
Kaleb McGary 82.6 86.1 71.6 1 0 1 2
Chris Lindstrom 73.5 67.6 81.1 0 0 0 1
Jake Matthews 71.9 63.9 80.8 0 0 0 2
Jalen Mayfield 72.4 68.2 75.6 0 0 0 2
Matt Hennessy 61.8 61.1 60.7 0 0 0 2

Only a single pressure was allowed by the line, and each member was only beaten by a defender twice, except Chris Lindstrom who was beaten once.

Defensive Line

With 17 total pressures from the defensive line, the Falcons’ pass-rush was having a field day. Trevor Lawrence constantly looked like a deer in headlights.

Dante Fowler Jr. led the way with five total pressures — one sack and four hurries. Right behind him, Brandon Copeland and Adetokunbo Ogundeji had four total pressures each.

Ogundeji was also a menace in run defense. He recorded six tackles and three assists.

Linebacker

Mykal Walker provided a wonderful line of defense today for the Falcons’ defense. He tallied nine tackles, three assists and four total pressures.

Foyesade Oluokun also had a solid day with six tackles and five assists.

Secondary

A.J. Terrell is a bright spot on an Atlanta defense that can sometimes be average. Against the 2021 first overall pick today, Terrell graded at 81.0 in coverage, allowing just one catch for five yards.

Duron Harmon was also a star today, picking off one of Lawrence’s passes. This yielded a 74.0 coverage grade on PFF’s first review.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback

It has been a tough year for Trevor Lawrence. He went from rarely losing in college to leading an NFL franchise to a two-win season through 12 weeks.

Today wasn’t great for him. On the way to an average 65.2 passing grade, he completed 23 of his 42 passes for 228 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His touchdown to Tavon Austin broke a three-game streak without a passing touchdown, so that definitely helps take some pressure off of the young signal-caller.

Running Back

The Jaguars’ offense has a lot to work on. With a rookie quarterback that often needs help to bail him out, a good rushing game is important. Luckily for Lawrence, the running back room was good enough in today’s loss.

James Robinson was the Jags’ leading rusher with 17 attempts for 86 yards. Carlos Hyde was right behind him with six attempts for 16 yards. They graded at 55.0 and 62.9 in rushing, respectively, on the first review.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Laquon Treadwell was the go-to guy for Lawrence today, with eight targets. He caught four of them for 53 yards. He was the leader on the team in both targets and receiving yards.

Nov 28, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (18) runs with the ball during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Not to be outdone, Tavon Austin got the only Jacksonville touchdown of the day. Tight end James O’Shaughnessy caught the two-point conversion, which kept Urban Meyer’s squad in the ball game.

Dan Arnold has been one of the best pass-catchers on the Jags this season. He has shown a good relationship with Lawrence so far, and he should be a great asset in the future. Before he was ruled out with a knee injury, he caught his only target for nine yards.

Offensive Line

Lawrence was often being pressured today, but it wasn’t due to bad line play. All five of the starters graded above 67.0 overall.

Pass blocking looked pretty good from the line. They only allowed six pressures, which means that the other 11 by Atlanta’s defensive line was charted against other players. Three of the starters — Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, Cam Robinson — graded in the 80s. 

Defensive Line

Josh Allen has been a rising young star in Jacksonville, but today, he was a little quiet. He totaled two tackles and no pressures.

Instead, Adam Gotsis was the highest-graded defensive lineman. He recorded two tackles and an assist, which resulted in a defensive grade of 77.7 on PFF’s first review. He was the only defensive lineman to have an overall grade over 65.0.

Linebacker

Like the defensive line, it was a very uneventful day for the Jags’ linebacker corps. They didn't record any pressures and only had five total tackles. Shaquille Quarterman was the best of the bunch, with a defensive grade of 70.4. He had three tackles and two assists.

Secondary

Rounding out a bad defensive day, the Jacksonville secondary didn’t see a single player graded above a 68.0. Only Rayshawn Jenkins came close with a 67.7. Usually pretty solid, Rudy Ford allowed all four of his targets to be caught for 40 yards and two first downs.The only other member of the secondary to be targeted was Andrew Wingard, who allowed one reception on three targets for 10 yards.

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