Written by: Garin Turner
The Atlanta Falcons (0-1) had a rough time getting anything going in their first preseason game of 2018 against the New York Jets (1-0). The Falcons lost 17-0 in a game where wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman sat out.
Matt Ryan played the first series and completed his only pass, but it was for a negative three yards. First-round pick Calvin Ridley caught the pass from Ryan. It was Ridley’s only target and catch of the game. The Falcons only had the ball for 10:46 in the first half and didn’t get a first down until 10 seconds left in the first half.
The Falcons moved the ball better in the second half, but penalties and sacks derailed many of their drives. In the third quarter the Falcons outgained the Jets 126-17. Backup quarterback Matt Schaub was 9/9 for 54 yards. Rookie QB Kurt Benkert was 9/17 for 125 yards and an interception.
The Falcons had a hard time running the ball throughout the game. Their leading rusher was Malik Williams, a rookie who had 19 yards on six carries. Rookie receiver Devin Gray had a decent game with four receptions for 83 yards. Safety Damontae Kazee had a team high 11 tackles (9 solo).
The Jets had solid quarterback play throughout the game. Josh McCown played the first series and completed his only pass for four yards. Teddy Bridgewater came in and had a good game. Bridgewater came back from a devastating injury in practice two years ago. He was 7/8 for 85 yards and a 16-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Crowell in the first quarter.
Former USC quarterback and the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft Sam Darnold took over for the rest of the game. He finished 13/18 for 96 yards and an 18-yard touchdown pass to Charles Johnson (three receptions for 45 yards) to bring the game to its final score of 17-0 in the second quarter. Darnold scrambled out of the pocket before connecting with Johnson who on the previous play was called for offensive pass interference that took away a touchdown catch and before that, he dropped a would-be touchdown.
The Falcons take the field at home against the Chiefs Aug. 17.
The Jets will travel to take on the Washington Redskins Aug. 16.