JAX-ATL grades: Jags rookie QB Brandon Allen plays well in loss

Sixth-round pick grades well, as do several young defensive players. For Atlanta, a strong pass-rusher at defensive end makes a case for a roster spot.

| 10 months ago
(Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

(Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

JAX-ATL grades: Jags rookie QB Brandon Allen plays well in loss

Atlanta Falcons 17, Jacksonville Jaguars 15

Here are the top takeaways from the Atlanta Falcons’ 17-15 preseason Week 4 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Atlanta Falcons

Quarterback grade: Matt Simms 73.7

Matt Simms accurate in extended look

Matt Simms went wire-to-wire in the preseason finale, finishing 16-for-23 for 217 yards, with both of his interceptions coming as a result of drops. That brought him to an adjusted completion percentage of 81.8 percent, third in the NFL this week. He had a pair of overthrows, but Simms made a few nice passes over the middle of the field and he drove a beauty of a throw up the sideline early in the third quarter that split the Jaguars’ cornerback and safety in Cover-2 to go for 48 yards.

Top offensive grades:

C Ben Garland, 78.1

WR J.D. McKissic, 75.2

WR Nick Williams, 74.5

OT Laurence Gibson, 74.2

QB Matt Simms, 73.7

Backup offensive linemen make final push

Many roster decisions may be locked in, but center Ben Garland and offensive tackle Laurence Gibson finished on a high note. Garland made a number of good blocks in Atlanta’s zone scheme and neither player surrendered a pressure on their 27 combined snaps in pass protection. Whether or not Gibson or Garland make the roster in backup roles, they both finished with their best performances of the preseason.

Top defensive grades

DE Nordly Capi, 75.7

DT Courtney Upshaw, 74.9

S Robinson Therezie, 74.5

S Damian Parms, 73.2

DT Jonathan Babineaux, 72.6

Nordly Capi is Atlanta’s top pass-rusher during the preseason

In Atlanta’s never-ending quest to find pass-rushers, Nordly Capi stood out with the best pass-rushing grade for the Falcons during the preseason and he did it once again in the finale. He picked up a sack and a QB hit on his 21 rushes while adding three stops in the running game. The Falcons have to take notice at a defensive end position that has underwhelmed for them in recent years.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback grade: Brandon Allen, 75.2

Brandon Allen moves the ball well in his best game of the preseason

Playing the entire game for the Jaguars, Allen showed why he was an intriguing sixth-round draft pick as he made good decisions and hit on a number of good throws throughout the night. He would like to have his interception back as he underthrow a deep crossing route in dangerous territory but his first-quarter touchdown was a well-thrown pass up the seam and he finished 3-for-3 for 47 yards at the intermediate (11-20 yard) level.

Brandon Allen Passing Chart

Top offensive grades

OT Rashod Hill, 76.6

WR Shaq Evans, 76.5

QB Brandon Allen, 75.2

G Tyler Shatley, 74.9

WR Bryan Walters, 74.7

Shaq Evans and Bryan Walters are Allen’s top receiving options

Shaq Evans and Bryan Walters combined to catch seven of their 11 targets, as Evans was on the receiving end of Allen’s seam pass for a touchdown, turning all three of his catches into first downs, while Walters converted two first downs on his four receptions. Both players are fighting an uphill battle for a roster spot, but it was a good final impression for the veteran pair.

Top defensive grades:

DE Ryan Davis, 80.3

LB Hayes Pullard, 77.8

DE Tyrone Holmes, 77.3

S Jarrod Wilson, 76.7

DT Michael Bennett, 75.9

Young defensive players cap strong preseason

Sixth-round defensive end Tyrone Holmes finished with another good preseason outing, as he picked up a QB hit and a hurry on his 15 rushes while tipping a pass when dropping back on a zone blitz, one of three snaps played in coverage. Second-year defensive tackle Michael Bennett continued his disruptive ways in the running game, finishing with a 76.1 grade in that department, as both Holmes and Bennett have made a strong case to see time in the Jaguars’ defensive line rotation this season.

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Mike J.

    I was impressed by both third-string quarterbacks. Allen showed real promise.