Dec 20, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Justin Durant (52) and outside linebacker Nate Stupar (54) celebrate after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Atlanta defeated Jacksonville 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Falcons single-handedly destroyed their playoff chances after losing six games in a row after starting the season off 5-0 but that wasn’t going to stop them from trying to snap their skid on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Behind Matt Ryan’s clutch play on third down, the Falcons were able to hold off an emphatic comeback by the Jaguars to win 23-17 after two late field goals by Shayne Graham.
After starting the game off 0-2 through the air on third down, Ryan went 8 of 11 including three third down conversions on their final possession of the game to push their lead to six points.
While Ryan was stellar on the afternoon, the biggest play of the game goes to strong safety Kemal Ishmael who intercepted Blake Bortles on the 1-yard line and returned it 84 yards to set up Graham 34-yard field goal at the end of the first half. The interception turned a would-be touchdown for Jacksonville into a 10-point swing in the Falcons’ favor.
Let’s take a look at five things we learned in the Falcons’ long-awaited win.