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First off the Field: Falcons 23, Jaguars 17

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Overview

JACKSONVILLE – So, so, so close wasn't quite enough.

As a result, the Jaguars lost their regular-season home finale Sunday – and their already slim postseason hopes got a lot slimmer.

The Jaguars (5-9), after rallying from a 14-point halftime deficit in the third quarter, couldn't convert a potential game-winning drive in the final two minutes, losing to the Atlanta Falcons 23-17 in front of 64,016 on a clear, crisp perfect December day at EverBank Field.

The Jaguars took possession at their 11-yard line after a field goal by Shayne Graham gave the Falcons their final lead with 1:37 remaining. After a 30-yard pass from Blake Bortles to wide receiver Marqise Lee took the Jaguars to the Jaguars 41, the ensuing four plays lost seven yards.

The Jaguars lost for the third time in four games. The Falcons snapped a six-game losing streak.

The Jaguars, after trailing 17-3 at halftime, drove 80 yards on the opening drive of the third quarter with Bortles' 1-yard run on a rollout cutting the Falcons' lead to seven.

The Jaguars tied it on the ensuing series with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to wide receiver Allen Robinson. That touchdown came on a 39-yard drive that was set up by an interception by middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.

Defensive end Jared Odrick deflected the pass and it was caught by Posluszny, who was playing with a club protecting his fractured right hand.

The Falcons re-took the lead, 20-17, when Graham capped a 47-yard drive with a 33-yard field goal with 10:28 remaining. Graham then pushed the lead to 23-17 with a 46-yard field goal with1:42 remaining, setting up the Jaguars' final drive.

Bortles completed 23 of 38 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown, but also threw a key, momentum-changing interception in the final seconds of the first half. Ryan completed 22 of 35 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown with an interception.

Falcons' wide receiver Julio Jones finished with nine receptions for 118 yards and a first-half touchdown.

The Falcons led by 14 after a half in which the Jaguars' offense moved efficiently at times, but struggled at others.

The Falcons took a quick, 7-0 lead when running back Devonta Freeman scored on a five-yard run around the right side to cap an 80-yard drive on the game's first possession. Ryan passed three times for 44 yards to Jones on the drive, with Atlanta scoring 10:48 remaining in the first quarter.

The Jaguars pulled to within 7-3 with a 42-yard field goal by Jason Myers early in the second quarter. Bortles narrowly missed tight end Julius Thomas wide open for a touchdown three plays before the field goal.

Atlanta stretched the lead to 14-3 with an 11-yard pass from Ryan to Jones, who ran a crossing route and reached the ball over the pylon in the front corner of the end zone. The Falcons drove 81 yards on 11 plays on the possession, rushing for 49 yards.

The Jaguars had a crushing turn of momentum at the end of the first half. After the Jaguars drove to the Falcons 1 with :14 remaining in the half, Falcons safety Kamal Ishmael intercepted a pass from Bortles in the end zone.

Ishmael returned the interception to the Jaguars 16, and Graham's 34-yard field goal as the half ended made it 17-3, Falcons.

The Jaguars outgained the Falcons 210-198 in the first half. The late interception marked the first time in their last 11 red-zone possessions the Jaguars did not score a touchdown.

The Jaguars did not convert a third down in the first half, missing on five opportunities.

 

Gameday images of the Jaguars Week-15 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.

Player of the game

Paul Posluszny, middle linebacker.The Jaguars' middle linebacker played through three broken bones in his hand. His third-quarter interception was key, and he made multiple tackles throughout the second half.

 

Offensively

The Jaguars finished with 357 yards offense, but struggled after two touchdowns early in the third quarter. The Jaguars, who scored touchdowns on two of three red-zone possessions, produced 210 first-half yards, rushing for 53.

Defensively

The Falcons had 328 total yards, and the Jaguars' pass rush failed to get enough pressure to keep the Falcons from being effective on third down. Atlanta produced 198 first-half yards, rushing for 78 and passing for 120.

Specially

Myers converted his lone field goal of the game, a 42-yarder in the first half. Myers now has converted 11 consecutive field goals.

 

Injury updates

*Jaguars Otto linebacker Dan Skuta left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and returned. Weakside linebacker Telvin Smith played through a hand injury much of the second half. Safety Josh Evans left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.

*Starting running back T.J. Yeldon (knee) missed the game, as did Leo pass rusher Ryan Davis (knee) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (hamstring). Denard Robinson started for Yeldon.

*The Jaguars' other inactives: wide receiver Bryan Walters (back), tight end Nic Jacobs (hamstring),  offensive lineman Luke Bowanko, linebacker Joplo Bartu.

 

Standing out

*Allen Robinson finished the game with three receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. He caught two passes for 47 yards on back-to-back plays in the first half.

*Tight end Julius Thomas caught six passes for 79 yards. He caught four passes for 47 yards in the first half.

*Denard Robinson finished with 28 yards rushing on 14 carries. He caught eight passes for 46 yards.

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