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By The Numbers: Falcons at Jaguars

Posted Aug 28, 2014

There were plenty of important numbers providing subtext to Thursday's 24-14 preseason victory over the Jaguars.

0 - Number of third-down conversions for the Jaguars (in 6 tries) against the Falcons defense in the first half. Atlanta's defensive line got the more pressure than any of the previous preseason games, sacking Jacksonville quarterbacks three times and limiting the Jaguars' ground game to just 45 yards on the night.

.500 - Preseason record for the Falcons, their best since 2010. The Falcons posted 2-2 preseason records in each of its first three seasons under Head Coach Mike Smith (2008-2010) but have struggled since then, finishing 0-4 in 2011, 1-3 in 2012 and 0-4 in 2013.

4 - First-string offensive linemen who started in tonight's game. Only right guard Jon Asamoah had the night off for the Falcons, with second year lineman Peter Konz starting in his place. Gabe Carimi, a 2011 first round pick (29th overall) of the Chicago Bears, saw his first action of the preseason in the first half, playing both right guard and right tackle.

4 - Number of running backs the Falcons will likely keep on their final 53-man roster. It would be pretty shocking news if Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers, Devonta Freeman, and Antone Smith didn't collectively head into the season as members of the Falcons' suddenly deep backfield.

10 - Penalties for the Falcons tonight against the Jaguars. While penalties have been way up this preseason across the entire League, Head Coach Mike Smith expressed concern after tonight's game at the team's 38 infractions in the preseason. To put that in perspective, Atlanta was penalized 55 times the entire 16-game 2012 season (which led the NFL in least amount that year).

10 - Players each NFL team may sign to their practice squads on August 31, after reducing their rosters to 53 players a day earlier. The NFL announced this week that practice squads for the 2014 and 2015 seasons will increase from the current maximum of eight players to 10 players. In addition, the criteria for Practice Squad eligibility has been expanded in two respects. First, a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a practice squad in order for that season to count as one of the player's maximum three permissible seasons of practice squad service. Second, each club will be permitted to sign up to two practice squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a practice squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club's 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.

22 - Players the Falcons must release between now and 4 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon to get down to the mandatory in-season roster limit of 53. While this is a time of huge disappointment and jubilation, depending on whether or not a player makes the final roster, remember that much can occur after Saturday's cutdown date and before the regular season opener on September 7 vs. the Saints. As other teams' rosters are finalized and hundreds of players hit the waiver wire, Falcons personnel staffers are actively monitoring each transaction to see if there is an opportunity to improve the final roster.

23 - Yards of total offense allowed by the Falcons' defense in the first quarter.

40 - Points scored by the Falcons heading into tonight's preseason finale, 31st in the NFL after three preseason games. Only San Francisco (24) had scored fewer. That made tonight's 24-point output a welcome sight, providing some momentum heading into the regular season.

43 - Hours until the Falcons must be down to the 53-man roster limit. Friday will be a tense and uncomfortable day for many at Flowery Branch team headquarters.

66 - Yards gained on the second quarter touchdown screen pass from quarterback T.J. Yates to running back Antone Smith. The fifth-year back has been nothing short of explosive this preseason, adding tonight's long score to a 76-yard touchdown run against the Dolphins (which was called back due to a holding penalty). Smith is also a key special teams cog, and he's almost guaranteed himself a spot on the Falcons' final roster despite an excess of talent at the running back position.

134 - Rushing yards in the preseason for rookie RB Devonta Freeman, which led the team. Freeman averaged an impressive 4.2 yards per carry on his 32 rushing attempts. Jacquizz Rodgers finished the preseason with 68 yards on 18 carries. Starter Steven Jackson did not play in any of the four preseason games as he nursed an injured hamstring. Jackson is expected to be ready to play in the September 7 season opener against the Saints.

148.5 - Quarterback rating for tonight's starter T.J. Yates. After being brought in during free agency to provide some veteran stability as a backup to Matt Ryan, Yates struggled in the last two preseason games, opening the door for Sean Renfree to stake a claim on the number two quarterback position. But Yates may have closed that door with tonight's 15-20, 243-yard passing performance, which included two long touchdown strikes to Antone Smith (66 yards) and Freddie Martino (67 yards). Renfree did nothing to hurt his chances for winning the backup spot, going 9 of 12 for 62 yards with no TDs or INTs.