1. Getting the Day Off: Not many were surprised to see Falcons QB Matt Ryan, WRs Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, as well as RB Steven Jackson not suiting up for the team's final exhibition of the season, Thursday night in Jacksonville. Other Falcons players not in the lineup included WR Geraldo Boldewijn, S Dezmen Southward, RG Jon Asamoah and DT Corey Peters.
2. Falcons Show Strong D: Falcons LB Paul Worrilow and DE Kroy Biermann made the most of their minimal playing time Thursday night, sacking Jaguars QB Blake Bortles for a 10-yard loss on the Jags' first offensive play from scrimmage. The next play saw Falcons CB Desmond Trufant disrupt a Bortles' pass attempt to TE Brandon Barden, followed by a third-down stop by Falcons S Robert McClain. The Falcons defense didn't allow a Jaguars' third-down conversion until the second half of the game, denying every one of the Jags' six third-down-conversion attempts in the opening half, allowing just one in the entire game (1 for 12 - 8%).
3. Big Day for Yates: Falcons QB T.J. Yates started the game slowly, before warming up on the team's third drive of the game, directing an eight-play scoring drive that covered 70 yards in 4:24, ending with a one-yard score by Falcons rookie RB Devonta Freeman; that was just the start for Yates, who finished the night going 15 for 20 for 243 yards and two TDs. Falcons QB Sean Renfree ended the night 9 of 12 for 62 yards, as well as four carries for four yards.
4. Atlanta's Quick-Scoring Offense: Falcons RB Antone Smith took a short pass from Yates in the second quarter, needing 21 yards to extend the drive, but he went beyond the sticks, all the way to the end zone; the quick-strike scoring drive lasted just three plays, taking 1:20 off the clock, ending with the 66-yard TD reception by Smith. On the Falcons very next offensive drive, the team once again scored in a flash, this time with Yates finding Falcons WR Freddie Martino for a 67-yard TD pass; the drive needed just the one play and lasted 10 seconds.
5. Freeman Continues to Flourish: In his fourth game in the NFL, Freeman continued to make the Falcons look brilliant for selecting him in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, finishing with a very productive night that included 12 carries for 42 yards and one TD, as well as five receptions for 45 yards, including one for a 21-yard gain. He truly makes the talented Falcons RB corps that much more explosive in 2014.
EXTRA REPS: Mentioned to be in the running for the Falcons starting right tackle position, OL Gabe Carimi made his home at right guard in Thursday night's game. Positioned to the left of starting right tackle Lamar Holmes, Carimi helped create several opportunities for the Falcons RBs, including on Freeman's one-yard score in the first quarter. ...Falcons punter Matt Bosher was truly in midseason form, finishing the contest with nine punts, three inside the 20-yard line and one that covered 62 yards. ...Among the many Falcons players looking to earn a roster spot, LB Tyler Starr finished with two tackles and one assist in the victory. ...The Falcons defense didn't let up in the fourth quarter, including an impressive goal-line stand, preserving the 24-14 win.