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Jaguars can't escape with win over Falcons

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) escapes being sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) escapes being sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Associated Press)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars erased a 14-point deficit early in the second half but it wasn't enough to pull out the win against Atlanta at EverBank Field.

The Falcons (7-7) beat Jacksonville 23-17 on Sunday in the Jaguars' final home game of the regular season.

"This is not the way we wanted to end it here at home," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. "This one stings. We made some good plays. We just didn't make enough."

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles scored his second rushing touchdown in two weeks with a 1-yard run in the third quarter, and the defense put Jacksonville (5-9) in position to tie the game with an interception of QB Matt Ryan.

Jared Odrick batted Ryan's pass in the air and it was snagged by Paul Posluszny, who was wearing a club on his right hand after breaking it in a game against Tennessee. The turnover gave the Jaguars the ball at the Falcons' 39-yard line.

Bortles tied it up with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson with 6:15 in the third quarter.

But the Falcons had the ball for nine minutes in the fourth quarter, killing the Jaguars' momentum.

Atlanta regained the lead early in the fourth quarter with a 33-yard Shayne Graham field goal that was set up by a pass interference penalty on Telvin Smith. Graham scored again on a 46-yarder with 1:42 to play to give the Falcons a six-point lead, and Atlanta held on for the win.

Jacksonville trailed 17-3 at the half.

The Jaguars drove down the field in the final minutes of the half and looked poised to score, but quarterback Blake Bortles threw an interception and Kemal Ishmael ran it all the way back to the Jaguars' 16 yard line. Bortles ran him down, saving a possible touchdown. But the play set up Atlanta for a 34-yard field goal to end the half.

"You get a chance like that right before half to put up seven points and get back in the game. That obviously hurts, but I think the guys did a very good job of bouncing back, coming back and scoring on our first possession in the second half," Bortles said. "(But) taking care of the ball -- definitely lacked that today."

The Falcons, who hadn't scored in their previous 14 possessions, drove 80 yards down the field on eight plays in their opening drive, capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Devonta Freeman. Matt Ryan started the game 6 of 6 on the drive.

Ryan threw an 11-yard TD pass to Julio Jones with 3:47 to play in the half. The catch finished an 81-yard drive.

The Jaguars' lone first-half score came on a 42-yard Jason Myers field goal with 14:05 to play in the second quarter.

Because the Texans beat Indianapolis, the Jaguars still have a mathematical shot at the playoffs, but they'll need to win out and get a lot of help from the rest of the division.