December 22, 2019 / 9:21 PM / a month ago

Ryan, Freeman lead Falcons over Jaguars

EditorsNote: Fixes to 288 in 2nd graf

Dec 22, 2019; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars team owner Shad Khan on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Devonta Freeman scored two touchdowns in the game’s first 5:32 Sunday to give the Atlanta Falcons a lead they would never relinquish in a 24-12 win over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars.

Matt Ryan completed 32 of 45 passes for 384 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Atlanta (6-9), which has won five of its past seven games. The Falcons outgained Jacksonville (5-10) 518 to 288 and got nine tackles from linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.

Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew hit 13 of 31 passes for 181 yards with a touchdown for the Jaguars, who lost for the sixth time in seven games and clinched a last-place finish in the AFC South.

Atlanta shaped the game’s flow before the Jacksonville offense ever took the field. It opened the day with an 82-yard, six-play touchdown drive that Freeman capped with a 17-yard run at the 11:27 mark of the first quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Michael Walker fumbled, and rookie running back Brian Hill fell on it for the Falcons at the Jaguars 25-yard line. Four plays later, Ryan zipped an 8-yard scoring strike to Freeman, and it was 14-0 by the time Jacksonville ran its first play.

The teams traded field goals in the second quarter. Josh Lambo got the Jaguars on the board with a 40-yarder with 9:12 left in the quarter, and Younghoe Koo hit from 23 yards out with 10 seconds remaining to give Atlanta a 17-3 halftime lead.

Lambo’s 27-yarder with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter inched Jacksonville within 17-6, but Qadree Ollison scored from 3 yards out at the 13:36 mark of the fourth quarter to put the Falcons ahead 24-6.

Minshew and Chris Conley hooked up for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 12 minutes left. The Jaguars could have gotten within a score with under five minutes left, but Minshew’s fourth-down pass for DJ Chark from the 7 was incomplete, ending a 15-play drive.

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