Defense Generates Key Turnover:The Falcons' lack of turnovers through two preseason games was "a sore subject" for Dan Quinn, but it didn't take long for the defense to ease its head coach's mind. On the seventh play from scrimmage, Brooks Reed tipped a Ryan Tannehill pass, which fluttered straight into the hands of Desmond Trufant.
Atlanta turned the ball over three times, however — one interception, one lost fumble — and finished minus-one in that category for the third consecutive game.
Rookies Get Starting Nods:In Atlanta's big "dress rehearsal" for the regular season, rookies Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, De'Vondre Campbell and Brian Poole earned starts on defense, a testament to how quickly they've adjusted to the NFL. Neal made some big hits in the first quarter — including a tackle for loss on an outside run play — before leaving with an ankle injury. Jones tallied five tackles and a QB hit; Campbell and Poole registered two tackles apiece.
On the other side of the ball, sixth-round pick Wes Schweitzer got some work with the first-team at right guard. He and veteran Chris Chester have been competing for the starting job at RG.
Jarrett Shines: Grady Jarrett was arguably the defense's best player in the first half. The 2015 fifth round pick, now a full-time NT, finished with three tackles — one for loss — and consistently pushed Miami's offensive linemen on their heels.
McKissic Makes His Case: J.D. McKissic burst onto the scene in Week 1 of the preseason with a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and he backed that performance up on Thursday with 87 return yards. His longest play of the night, a 49-yard kickoff return to midfield, helped set up a 53-yard Shayne Graham field goal.
McKissic also hauled in three passes for nine yards.
Robinson A Deep Threat Again:Aldrick Robinson was Atlanta's leading receiver for the second time this preseason, finishing with 70 yards in the air on three catches — all of which resulted in first downs. Robinson has shown he can stretch the field with his straight-line speed and may be carving out a significant role in the Falcons' offense.