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Jaguars at Falcons: Odom and Grace stand out, final score and other takeaways

ATLANTA -- The Falcons came up on the short end of their final preseason game Thursday night, losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars 13-7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Very few of Atlanta's projected starters saw the field in the loss, which dropped the Falcons' 2017 preseason record to 0-4.


Here are the main takeaways from the preseason finale:

Three turnovers highlight a tough night on defense

The Falcons' defense didn't have its best stuff on Thursday, but three first-half interceptions kept the Jaguars out of the end zone. Jacksonville entered halftime with a 7-0 lead, but it could have been a much larger deficit.

Three times the Jaguars moved the ball within the Falcons' 30-yard line - twice within the 10-yard line - and each time an Atlanta defender managed to steal the ball away. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Jermaine Grace and Sharrod Neasman each came up with an interception.

Wreh-Wilson earned the first interception by making an athletic play on a lob pass intended for Jacksonville receiver Dede Westbrook.

After scoring the first touchdown of the game, Jacksonville was once again moving the ball against Atlanta's defense. Grace's interception along the sideline stopped the Jaguars' momentum.

The Falcons' third interception of the game occured with 22 seconds left in the first half. Neasman tracked a ball batted by lineman Chris Odom and snagged it in the end zone.

Coach Dan Quinn has placed great importance on winning the turnover battle, and it's clear why. Despite surrendering 278 yards and 15 first downs to the Jaguars' offense in the first half, the Falcons gave up just seven points. In the end, it's the points that really matter.

Grace and Odom have stand-out performances

Although the Falcons' defense struggled overall, linebacker Jermaine Grace and defensive lineman Chris Odom each had noteworthy performances.

Grace was one of the three Atlanta defenders to come away with an interception, making a diving grab along the sideline, and Odom earned an assist on Neasman's pick by batting the ball into the air at the line of scrimmage.


With roster cuts coming over the next two days, each player made a good case for himself against Jacksonville. Grace finished with eight total tackles, a special teams' tackle and the interception, while Odom recorded eight total tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a 5-yard sack.

Hall helps spark Falcons' lone touchdown drive

Atlanta's only touchdown of the game came early in the fourth quarter, when tight end Darion Griswold fell on a Jhurrell Pressley fumble in the end zone.

Wide receiver Marvin Hall played a large role in helping the Falcons on their 75-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Matt Simms found Hall on a deep crossing pattern, and the second-year receiver then took off for a 65-yard gain.

Penalties pile up, add to Falcons' ugly night

While the Falcons won the turnover battle against the Jaguars on Thursday night, they were dominated in just about every other statistical category – including penalties.

At one point during the first quarter, Atlanta was on pace to hit 20 penalties for 180 yards – they had five for five for 45 yards). In the end, the Falcons were penalized seven times for 68 yards.

On the flip side, the Jaguars were penalized four times for 35 yards.

So, about that 0-4 preseason record ...

Yes, the Falcons dropped all four preseason games but, remember, these games don't count. The Falcons' coaches emphasized throughout August that these games are about evaluating young players, rookies and free agents -- and not about game-planning the opponents. Want more proof?

The entire archive of our live game feed can be viewed below.

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