Mooney is Money: Collin Mooney’s odds of making the 53-man roster undoubtedly improved on Friday. The 5-foot-10, 238-pound fullback, presently in a tight competition with Patrick DiMarco, got the offense going with a 60-yard reception on Atlanta’s second offensive play from scrimmage. Shortly thereafter, he delivered a perfect block that allowed Terron Ward to waltz into the end zone. Then he pinned the Jets at their own 17 yard line by registering a big tackle on kickoff coverage. If he can build off this performance, Mooney, 29, could develop into a valuable asset in 2015.
Hester Still Has It: Devin Hester is getting up there in age, and with a toe injury plaguing him of late, expectations weren’t exactly high against New York. But the 10-year veteran looked like his vintage self when he authored a 59-yard punt return in the first quarter. Hester’s sprint set up an efficient, 4-yard touchdown drive—one that gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead.
Offense Clicks Again: The first-team offense has been nothing short of fantastic of late. Matt Ryan, now 10-11 for 161 yards through two games, led Atlanta to a pair of touchdowns during his two drives against New York. Ryan’s only incompletion of the night—and the preseason—was a throwaway. While it would have been nice to see Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman participate, it was encouraging to see guys like Leonard Hankerson, who caught Ryan’s TD strike, chip in.
“I think it’s the same as last week,” Ryan said. “We wanted to come out and start fast. I thought we executed well at the start.”
Defense Remains Stout: Atlanta’s first-team defense, especially its front seven, continued to impress. Vic Beasley, Jr. flashed his explosiveness and earned a crucial pass deflection; Adrian Clayborn, another offseason addition, got his first sack as a Falcon. Stansly Maponga tallied a sack, as well—his second of the preseason.
“I love this system,” said Jonathan Babineaux, who made a nice tackle behind the line of scrimmage. “I think everyone in the system will play well to the best of their ability … I want this year to be a special year.”
Bosher in Midseason Form: Matt Bosher showed why he’s considered one of the NFL’s best special team assets. The 27-year-old booted five punts, two of which went for 60-plus yards, for an average of 56 yards. Such kicks often lead to big plays. The Falcons held the Jets to only six yards per punt return.
Extra Point: Linebacker Derek Akunne hurt one of his feet and did not return. Safety Robenson Therezie suffered a head injury and, after being evaluated in the locker room, returned to action. Running back Evan Royster hurt his midsection late in the contest and didn’t return.