The Atlanta Falcons dropped another heart-breaker when a last second field goal by kicker Nick Folk lifted the New York Jets to a 30-28 win. The Falcons had been successful with taking a late one-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game, but their defense failed to get a stop to deliver the team a win. Atlanta’s record falls to 1-4 as they enter their bye week.
Matt Ryan led the way, completing 36 of 45 passes for 319 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. The Falcons running game was led by Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries. Jason Snelling added 13 yards on 7 carries. Tony Gonzalez led Falcons receivers with 10 catches for 97 yards, on his way to be the second player in NFL history to catch a pass in 200 consecutive games after Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Julio Jones added 8 catches for 99 yards. Snelling had five catches for 10 yards and one of Ryan’s touchdowns. Levine Toilolo had the other on his way to 2 catches for 15 yards. Matt Bryant attempted no field goals as the Falcons found greater success in the red zone. They were able to convert touchdowns four times on five trips. Matt Bosher punted twice for an average 49.5 yards, but had one punt blocked. Harry Douglas returned a pair of punt returns for 22 yards, while Rodgers only returned a single kickoff for 23 yards. The Falcons generated 363 yards of total offense and were able to convert on 6 of 12 third down attempts, while converted on 1 of 2 fourth down attempts. They did manage to turn the ball over once, on a Ryan fumble.
Defensively, the Falcons only allowed 288 total yards from the Jets. Much of those yards came on the ground, as the Jets were able to generate 118 rushing yards. They sacked quarterback Geno Smith four times, but weren’t able to force any turnovers of the rookie passer. Stephen Nicholas led defenders with 7 tackles. Jonathan Babineaux (4 tackles); Joplo Bartu (3 tackles, 1 sack); Thomas DeCoud (5 tackles); Omar Gaither (4 tackles); William Moore (3 tackles); Corey Peters (3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended); Desmond Trufant (3 tackles, 1 pass defended); Osi Umenyiora (6 tackles, 2 sacks); and Paul Worrilow (6 tackles) had noteworthy games.
The Falcons began the game on their opening series trying to establish the run. Rodgers got the ball four times on the team’s first six plays from scrimmage, gaining 14 yards. On his fourth carry however, Rodgers was stopped for a 2-yard loss by Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to set up a 3rd-and-5. On that play, Darrin Walls jumped Ryan’s pass to Gonzalez to almost make an interception. That led to the Falcons punting, but Shann Schillinger missed a block on Antonio Allen, who blocked Bosher’s punt. Schillinger recovered and scooped it up and tried to throw it to Snelling, who was unable to get back to the line of scrimmage. The Jets took over at Atlanta’s 44-yard line. They were able to move the ball deeper into Falcon territory. On the sixth play of the series, Geno Smith’s pass to Jeff Cumberland was deflected off safety William Moore, but bounced back into the hands of Cumberland to convert a 3rd-and-8, putting the ball in the red zone. On the next third down, Smith’s pass to David Nelson was stopped a yard shy of the first down by Bartu and Trufant. A delay of game penalty resulted on the Jets after their indecision on whether to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Falcons’ 4-yard line. That forced Nick Folk to kick a 22-yard field goal to give the Jets an early 3-0 lead.
The Falcons got a fortuitous bounce on the ensuing series, when on the fourth play of the drive, Roddy White made a catch on a slant. The play went for 18 yards before White fumbled, but the loose ball was scooped by Julio Jones who advanced it another 18 yards to get the ball to the Jets’ 19-yard line. The Falcons were able to make a number of small gains on their next five plays to close out the first quarter at the Jets’ 4-yard line. On the opening play of the second quarter, Ryan had a miscommunication with Tony Gonzalez resulting in an incomplete pass on 2nd-and-goal. But on the next play, a shovel pass to Snelling scored and the Falcons took the lead 7-3 with 14:53 left in the second quarter.
The first play of the ensuing Jets series was a direct snap to running back Mike Goodson which he made Bartu miss and scurried around the edge for a 26-yard gain. That put the ball into Falcons territory. They were able to convert three plays later on a third down on a 21-yard pass to Jeremy Kerley, putting them in the red zone. Three plays later, an illegal substitution penalty backed up the Jets to a 3rd-and-11 at the Falcons’ 20-yard line. But Cumberland beat Bartu and Smith found him on a back-shoulder throw for a touchdown, and the Jets quickly retook the lead, 10-7, with 11 minutes left in the half.
The Falcons offense followed that up with a quick three-and-out, thanks to Garrett Reynolds getting beat by Sheldon Richardson for a sack on third down to force a Bosher punt. On the second play of the ensuing Jets drive, Bartu blew a coverage against Cumberland, allowing a 47-yard gain. On the next play, Robert McClain missed a stop on Kerley who ran after the catch for a 16-yard touchdown. And less than four minutes after the preceding score, the Jets now had a 17-7 lead.
The Falcons were able to move the ball into Jets territory on a mix of Ryan passes and Snelling runs. Then Ryan hit Jones on a deep out for 20 yards to put the ball at New York’s 25-yard line shortly before the two-minute warning hit. On 3rd-and-5 following the two-minute warning, Ryan found Gonzalez, who snatched the ball out of the air with a defender draped over him. Four plays later, at the Jets’ 5-yard line, the Falcons ran a screen to Jones who got the ball down to the 1-yard line with 7 seconds left in the half. On 4th and inches, the Falcons tried play-action pass, but nobody got open and Ryan’s lob to Gonzalez is incomplete. But the Jets are flagged for a pass interference penalty on David Harris, giving them one last shot with a second left. The Falcons opt to run it in, but Rodgers is bottled up the middle by Sheldon Richardson for no gain. And the Falcons head into halftime with nothing to show on their drive, still down 10 points.
But the Falcons defense responds on the opening drive of the second half, forcing a Jets three-and-out. Umenyiora comes unblocked off the edge on a Falcons blitz to sack Smith and force a punt. Harry Douglas’ 15-yard return sets up the Falcons at midfield. Ryan dials up his tight ends on the ensuing drive. He hits Gonzalez on a 15-yard over the middle on the first play. Then he finds Levine Toilolo two plays later on a 12-yard gain for another first down. After a Peter Konz holding penalty helps set up a 2nd-and-21, Ryan dials Gonzalez’s number on three consecutive passes, including a 15-yard catch to convert on 3rd-and-12. The latter of the three passes gets the ball down to the Jets’ 4-yard line. After which, Rodgers runs outside, breaks a tackle and runs it in for a 4-yard score. The Falcons now have cut the lead to 17-14.
The Falcons dialed up pressure again on the next Jets series, as on 3rd-and-5, they are able to get a hit on Smith as he lobs a throw to Kerley down the sideline. But Moore and Trufant converge to break up the pass and force the Jets punt. The Falcons are starting to move the ball, able to convert one of their few short-yardage situations with a 4-yard run by Snelling on 3rd-and-1 on the next drive. But on the very next play, Wilkerson bursts past Jeremy Trueblood to get the sack on Ryan. Leger Douzable recovers and the Jets have the ball at Atlanta’s 27-yard line. But on the third play, Peters burst up the middle to sack Smith, pushing the Jets back to 2nd-and-20 at Atlanta’s 25-yard line. They aren’t able to convert the ensuing 3rd-and-20, and Folk connects on a 36-yard field goal, pushing the Jets lead to 20-14 with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.
A pair of Rodgers runs sets up a 3rd-and-2 at the outset of the fourth quarter. Ryan connects with White on a 5-yard gain, but the receiver is flagged for offensive pass interference. On the ensuing play, Ryan’s deep pass to Jones is overthrown and the Falcons are forced to punt. But Kerley is able to return the punt 24 yards, and another 15 yards is tacked on after Bosher is flagged for a touchdown-saving horse collar tackle. The Jets now start their drive at the Falcons’ 23-yard line.
After Chris Ivory bursts up the middle for 19 yards on the first play, Smith is able to find a wide open Kellen Winslow for a 1-yard touchdown toss three plays later. And the Jets lead is pushed to two scores, 27-14 with 12 minutes to play in the game.
The Falcons push the tempo and dial up the no-huddle attack. Ryan connects twice with Jones to help move the ball into Jets territory. Two plays later, he takes a deep shot to Jones, but he can’t make the diving grab in the end zone. That leaves the Falcons with a 3rd-and-3 at the Jets’ 38-yard line. Ryan finds Kevin Cone, for his first professional catch, to convert. After a 7-yard catch by Gonzalez on the next play, Rodgers bursts through the Jets defense for a 19-yard run and score. The Falcons have cut the Jets lead back to six with 8 minutes left in the game.
The Falcons defense gets a stop, thanks to a sack on 2nd-and-4 by Umenyiora. After another illegal substitution penalty, the Jets can’t convert on a screen to Kerley on 3rd-and-17. That leads to another Jets punt. The Falcons take over with 5:40 left on the game clock.
The Falcons take a deep shot to Jones on the opening play of the drive, who makes a 27-yard catch, but he’s flagged for offensive pass interference, negating the big gain. But Ryan dials him right back up, and he beats Antonio Cromartie for a 46-yard gain, and Cromartie is flagged this time. The Falcons decline the penalty and they set up at the Jets’ 27-yard line. Darrin Walls then breaks up the next play on a deep shot to Harry Douglas. A check down to Rodgers on the next play sets up a 3rd-and-1. But pressure disrupts Ryan’s throw on 3rd-and-1. But he connects with Gonzalez on a quick out on 4th-and-1 to give the Falcons a new set of downs at the Jets’ 14-yard line. Antone Smith then burst up the middle for a 8-yard gain to put the ball at the Jets’ 6-yard line.But the Falcons fail to punch it in on their next two plays. On 4th-and-3, Ryan’s check down to Rodgers is broken up, but the Jets are called for a defensive holding penalty. That gives Atlanta a new set of downs from the 3-yard line just as the two-minute warning hits. On the very next play, Ryan finds Levine Toilolo on an out pattern for a 3-yard score. That gives Atlanta a 28-27 lead, their first since the outset of the second quarter with 1:54 left in the game.
But the Jets respond, as Smith hits Stephen Hill on two of his first three passes for a combined 21 yards to get the ball into Falcons territory. Smith then scrambled for 8 yards to get the ball two the Falcons’ 38-yard line. Three plays later with 25 seconds remaining, the Jets had 3rd-and-3 at the Falcons’ 31-yard line, and Jonathan Babineaux missed the stop on Bilal Powell in the backfield on a 6-yard gain. The Jets then let the clock bleed down to 3 seconds, and Nick Folk trotted out on the field to hit the 43-yard field goal to win the game as time expired.
The Falcons will have a bye before facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7.