Jaguars vs. Falcons Thursday Night Football: Live Reaction, News and Analysis
Surprisingly, this will be the Jaguars third game on prime-time television this year, which is probably another reason the NFL should enforce flex scheduling. But the Falcons, on the other hand, have a lot to play for. They are currently two games behind the Saints for the NFC South lead, and are also looking to hold on to the Wild Card berth they are currently in place to clinch.
It will be a tough task for Jacksonville to pull off the upset tonight. Over the course of the 2011 season, they have placed 29 players on injured reserve. In tonight’s game, WR Mike Thomas, K Josh Scobee and WR Cecil Shorts are all doubtful.
And the Falcons have their share of injuries, too. DT Jonathan Babineaux, CB Brent Grimes and OT Will Svitek all are doubtful for tonight’s game. Each of the three players are big contributors to the team.
For the Jaguars, the big test will be defending against the Falcons' big-play threats. Between QB Matt Ryan, WR Roddy White, WR Julio Jones and RB Michael Turner, the Falcons can hit the home run on any play.
The Jaguars secondary—as the Chargers exploited on Monday Night Football last week—really struggles to defend against it. CB Ashton Youboty was targeted multiple times, and was beat over the top for two deep touchdown passes.
The game is to kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET, and will be aired on NFL Network. Keep it here for updates leading up to the big affair!
Every football fan enjoys a good fat guy touchdown. And tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup provided one.
Just two minutes into the second half, the Atlanta Falcons led the Jacksonville Jaguars, 27-0. Jacksonville had the ball, and was looking to mount a long drive and chip away at the (big) lead. Unfortunately, the Falcons defense weren’t on board with that plan.
QB Blaine Gabbert dropped back to pass, but Falcons DT John Abraham–who was rushing off the edge–came flying at him and forced a big strip-sack. Gabbert fumbled the ball, and his loss was Peters’ gain, who picked the football up and ran it back 13 yards for the touchdown.
We didn’t get to see a traditional fat guy touchdown dance in the end zone, but the Falcons were up 34-0 at this point, and probably didn’t want to rub salt in the wound and run up the score on primetime television.
The Falcons defensive front has not generated much pressure against opposing quarterbacks thus far this season–the team ranks No. 24 with only 25 sacks–so they will need to use the momentum going forward into the postseason.
Watch the video to watch Abraham come up with a strip-sack on Gabbert with Peters finishing it off by picking it up and running into the end zone.
The Georgia Dome is one of the toughest environments in the NFL to play in, and the Falcons are 24-4 there when QB Matt Ryan is under center.
Viewers who tuned in to tonight’s Thursday Night Football affair witnessed why that is the case, as Atlanta jumped out to a 41-0 lead over Jacksonville midway through the third quarter. The Falcons moved the football at will with balance on offense, running RB Michael Turner in between the tackles and targeting WR Roddy White in the passing game.
Roddy White currently has nine catches for 132 yards (two touchdowns), heading into the fourth quarter. The Jaguars have been rolling coverage over to both him and TE Tony Gonzalez, but it hasn’t helped matters. White is killing the Jacksonville defensive backs and getting separation with crossing routes and go routes.
So that presents the question, if you were a head coach or general manager, which wide receiver would you rather have on your team for the next five years: Roddy White or Mike Wallace?
It’s a tough question, as both wide receivers are dynamic, big-play threats that can make plays even when drawing coverage. Both possess great burst speed and can run vertical routes as well as any receiver in the NFL.
I’d rather have Roddy White, who is the more versatile of the two. He’s the better route runner and his versatility allows him to come up big on short routes on third down, as well as hit defenses over the top for the big play. He is both a possession and deep-threat receiver, the best of both worlds.
Opposing defensive coordinators scheme as best they can to try to take away the Falcons plethora of offensive weapons. But on nights like tonight when the team is clicking, they're very tough to stop.