Ryan leads Falcons to victory over Jaguars




ATLANTA — Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes, John Abraham had 3½ sacks and the Atlanta Falcons clinched a fourth consecutive winning season with a 41-14 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.

This one was over by halftime. The Falcons (9-5) were up 27-0 when the teams trotted to the locker room, the shell-shocked Jaguars (4-10) saddled with a net passing total of minus-1 yard.

Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert coughed up the ball twice on hits by Abraham, both turnovers leading to Atlanta scores.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters scooped up the second fumble and ran it in for a touchdown early in the third quarter, ending any thought of a Jacksonville comeback.

Ryan was 19 of 26 for 224 yards and three TDs before coach Mike Smith replaced him with No. 2 QB Chris Redman.

Ryan hooked up with Roddy White on two scoring passes.

White finished with 10 catches for 135 yards. Julio Jones had five for 85 yards and a touchdown.

The Falcons got off to a fast start and took advantage of a Jacksonville gaffe early in the second quarter to expand their lead.

Jarett Dillard failed to catch a punt that bounced off his body at the Jacksonville 15. Atlanta’s Sean Weatherspoon fell on the loose ball at the 5, and Michael Turner scored on the next play.

White, who finished the first half with seven catches for 90 yards, ran a left-to-right pattern in the back of the end zone to catch Ryan’s pass for a 24-0 lead.

Jacksonville, coming off a victory last week over Tampa Bay, was attempting to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Atlanta scored on its first drive of the game when Ryan stepped up in the pocket and connected with Jones, the NFL’s No. 6 overall draft pick, over the middle.

The speedster from Alabama did the rest, cutting up the field and splitting a couple of Jaguars defenders to get into the end zone for a
29-yard touchdown reception.

Gabbert, the NFL’s lowest rated passer, was sacked by Abraham for a 10-yard loss on Jacksonville’s first play from scrimmage.

Gabbert finished 12 of 22 for 141 yards. He had a touchdown pass and an interception but was sacked five times.