The Falcons offense was clicking in their final preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Behind a strong ground attack and some smart decisions by quarterback Danny Etling, Atlanta rolled to a 31-12 victory.
The Falcons finished their final exhibition game with a preseason-high 425 yards of offense. A whopping 255 of those yards came on the ground, highlighting the depth Atlanta possesses at the running back spot.
Running back Qadree Ollison set the tone in the first quarter with some hard-nosed runs. The fifth-round draft pick who has been locked in a battle for the No. 3 spot also showed some notable shiftiness at the line of scrimmage, especially on the 9-yard touchdown that gave the Falcons an early 7-0 lead.
Ollison's versatility as a blocker, receiver and runner was notable in a sold all-around performance for the rookie, who finished with 51 yards and the touchdown on 14 carries.
Tony Brooks-James signed a contract with the Falcons after the team’s rookie minicamp this offseason, and he showed why the team was interested in him on Thursday. Possessing elite speed, Brooks-James made several big plays in the game, including a 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and an explosive 52-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Brooks-James made a compelling case for a spot on Atlanta's practice squad - if another team doesn't sign him to their active roster first, that is. The undrafted speedster led all Falcons with 15 carries for 137 yards and the two touchdowns.
The third part of Atlanta’s rushing trio was Etling. The third-string quarterback’s mobility was on display, as he ran 10 times for 67 yards. Etling also looked more comfortable inside of the pocket against the Jaguars, completing 15-of-25 passes for 174 yards and a 12-yard touchdown pass to Christian Blake.
Notably, Thursday marked the first start for first-round pick Kaleb McGary at right tackle. McGary was among the bright spots in the first half, creating a clean pocket for Etling as a pass blocker and moving defenders out of the hole in the run game.