JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars beat the Falcons 17-6 in the third and most important preseason game of the year. When the first teams were both in the game, the Jaguars outscored the Falcons 10-6. Here were my four takeaways from the game:
Marqise Lee left the game in the first quarter. He was carted off the field with a left knee injury after being hit low after making a catch. Marcell Dareus left the game in the first half with a pectoral muscle injury. Tashaun Gipson had a stinger. We don't know how serious the injuries are, although Lee's appears to be fairly serious. It's a reminder how fortunate the Jaguars were last year when, aside from Allen Robinson's season ending injury in week one, they avoided serious injuries.
2. Running back usage
It appears that the Jaguars are finding new ways to utilize Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant in concert. So far this preseason, we've seen Fournette and Yeldon in the backfield together, and on Saturday, Yeldon was lined up as a wide receiver on one play and Yeldon and Grant were in the backfield together. If the Jaguars can utilize the strengths of each player, the offense will benefit.
3. Offense up and down
Just like last week in Minnesota, the Jaguars offense struggled early. On the second possession, Blake Bortles' pass was tipped and intercepted. But the offense responded with a six-play, 98-yard drive that included three big plays: a 37 yard slant to Donte Moncrief, a 19 yard run by Grant and Fournette's weaving, 21-yard touchdown run. Bortles finished the game completing 17 of 23 passes for 204 yards and two interceptions. Depending on how much stock you wish to put into a preseason game, but we've seen many indications that the Jaguars offense can be "good enough" --as in, good enough to win with the defense being as dominant as they are.
4. Defense in mid-season form
Sacksonville was well represented in the game. Malik Jackson, D.J. Hayden and Myles Jack all recorded sacks (Jack's sack was as the closest player to Matt Ryan when he ran out of bounds for a 1-yard loss. Jalen Ramsey made his return to the lineup and allowed only one catch, a twisting, back-shoulder catch by Mohamed Sanu. If they stay healthy, the Jaguars defense can be historically dominant this season.