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While Roddy White struggled, the Falcons other receivers did help pick up the slack on Thursday. Harry Douglas had another productive game, leading the team with nine catches for 79 yards.
But more surprising was the early emergence of Darius Johnson, who put forth his best effort of the season in the first half against the Saints. He took advantage of second-year cornerback Corey White, who was replacing injured starter Jabari Greer. Johnson led the Falcons at the half with five catches for 65 yards, but was slowed in the second half to only one catch for five yards.
Johnson had a critical drop on third down in the third quarter when he was wide open over the middle. He compounded that mistake in the fourth quarter with a game-changing fumble inside the red zone.
The Falcons appeared poised to take the lead at that point, but Johnson was stripped from behind by New Orleans Keyunta Dawson on a screen pass. White jumped on the loose ball, and the Saints were able to milk another five minutes off the clock on the next series.
Johnson, an undrafted rookie, will need to show some veteran poise next week to bounce back from the disappointing performance.