Ryan, Falcons pound Jaguars
ATLANTA - The Atlanta Falcons had been waiting all season for a complete game.
They finally got it.
Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes in less than three quarters of work, John Abraham had 3 1/2 sacks, and the Falcons clinched a fourth straight winning season with a 41-14 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars last night.
“Hopefully we can play like we did tonight for the next couple weeks,’’ Ryan said.
This one was over by halftime. Atlanta (9-5) led, 27-0, when the teams trotted to the locker room, Blaine Gabbert and the shellshocked Jaguars (4-10) saddled with a net passing total of minus-1 yard, the Falcons well on the way to strengthening their hold on an NFC wild-card spot.
Gabbert had one of his worst games in a miserable rookie season, coughing up the ball twice on hits by Abraham. Both fumbles led to Atlanta scores, with defensive tackle Corey Peters scooping up the second one and trotting to the end zone early in the third quarter for a touchdown that ended any thought of the Jaguars getting back in the game.
“It wasn’t just me,’’ Abraham said. “The whole team was able to get to the quarterback.’’
Ryan was 19 of 26 for 224 yards and three touchdowns, with a season-high rating of 137.3. Roddy White caught two of the scoring passes, Julio Jones the other.
White went over 1,000 yards receiving for the year, becoming the first Falcons wideout to accomplish the feat in five straight seasons and the eighth NFL player to have at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards receiving in five consecutive years.
Gabbert was 12 of 22 for 141 yards with an interception. He got most of his yards on a meaningless final drive, hitting Chastin West on a 16-yard touchdown with 59 seconds remaining.
Jacksonville’s other touchdown came on a blocked punt when it was trailing, 41-0.
Michael Turner burst off left guard for 15 yards on the first play of the game, and the Falcons were off and running.