(SL) – If preseason is indicative of how the dirty birds will start the 2016-2017 season, it should be a good one. The Atlanta Falcons left fans and coaches inspired after ending preseason play 3-1 with a 17-15 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night at the dome. And before anyone asks….yes they all stood for the pledge. Naturally, we didn’t see much play from Atlanta’s starters even though kicker Matt Bryant who missed the last two games with leg tightness showed he was loose and ready for the season after kicking a 27-yard field goal at the end of the 1st quarter and 2 extra points.
QB Matt Ryan took the first snap to which he connected with Devonta Freeman but that was it for both of them leaving Matt Sims, who was on the practice squad last year to lead the Falcons completing 16-23 passes for 217 yards.
And Terron Ward who ran for two touchdowns, boosting his chances for the third and possibly final roster spot at running back. Ward had missed the last two games with an ankle sprain but came back just in time to prove his worth especially after Will Ratelle left with an ankle injury.“It left me out there by myself, but as a running back sometimes you have to show you can shoulder the load, and I’ll do it every time if I have to,” Ward said. Ward is competing with rookie Brandon Wilds, held out with a knee injury, to be the third running back. The Falcons will start the regular season against Tampa in Atlanta 1pm on Sunday.