Ter­ron Ward runs for 2 TDs as Fal­cons edge Jaguars 17-15

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By CHARLES ODUM AP Sports Writer

AT­LANTA (AP) — Dan Quinn be­lieves his At­lanta Fal­cons go through ev­ery­thing to­gether as a team, even in the fourth week of the pre­sea­son.

For Matt Ryan and Devonta Free­man, that meant play­ing one snap. For Ter­ron Ward, it meant play­ing vir­tu­ally the full game.

Ward ran for two touch­downs, boost­ing his chances for the third and pos­si­bly fi­nal ros­ter spot at run­ning back, and the Fal­cons beat the Jack­sonville Jaguars 1715 on Thurs­day night.

Ward missed the last two games with an an­kle sprain but re­turned in time to show he can be the team’s third run­ning back, be­hind Devonta Free­man and Tevin Cole­man. He ran for 62 yards on 22 car­ries.

With Free­man and top backup Tevin Cole­man each limited to one carry, Ward had a busy day. The sec­ond-year back had an es­pe­cially full work­load after full­back 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.

Ryan handed off to Free­man on At­lanta’s first play. Both jogged off the field after Free­man’s 3yard gain.

So why play only one snap?

“I think it’s im­por­tant that we go through ev­ery­thing to­gether as a team, whether they play one play or for a guy like Ter­ron’s case, nearly the whole game,” Quinn said. “That’s what we stand for as a team.”

Jack­sonville coach Gus Bradley held out 28 play­ers, in­clud­ing all starters ex­cept kick­ing spe­cial­ists.

Each team fea­tured its third­string quar­ter­back. Rookie Bran­don Allen com­pleted 17 of 26 passes for 164 yards with two touch­downs and one in­ter­cep­tion for Jack­sonville.

“He has been what we ex­pected,” said Jaguars gen­eral man­ager Dave Cald­well. “... He has got­ten bet­ter ev­ery week and

ev­ery day. We are ex­cited to have him.”

Jaguars wide re­ceiver Shaq Evans, waived on Mon­day, was re­signed be­fore the game after re­ceiver Tony Wash­ing­ton was waived/ in­jured with a ham­string in­jury.

Evans pounced on his new op­por­tu­nity with a 25-yard touch­down catch from Allen in the first quar­ter. He had three catches for 54 yards.

“It’s a tough time,” Bradley said of the last­ditch chance to make an im­pres­sion. “... You see guys like Shaq Evans com­ing back, we kind of bring them back, and to have a cou­ple big plays is huge for him.”

Matt Schaub, who played be­hind Ryan, com­pleted his only at­tempt for 5 yards for At­lanta be­fore Matt Simms played the re­main­der of the game. Simms com­pleted 16 of 23 passes for 217 yards with no touch­downs and two in­ter­cep­tions — each off the hands of rookie tight end Austin Hooper.

The Fal­cons fin­ished the pre­sea­son with a 31. The Jaguars were 1-3.

Po­si­tion bat­tles

It was a tough night for Hooper, the third-round pick from Stan­ford. Hooper, listed as the top backup to starter Ja­cob Tamme, is one of five tight ends on the ros­ter. He could fall be­hind D.J. Tialavea on the depth chart. The other tight ends are Levine Toilolo and Joshua Perkins.

De­but for Dashon

Fal­cons vet­eran safety Dashon Gold­son saw his first ac­tion and had a big hit near the At­lanta side­line.

“I said ‘ wel­come back’ and I got a smile,” Quinn said.

Julio heal­ing

Fal­cons wide re­ceiver Julio Jones, held out with an an­kle in­jury, par­tic­i­pated in pregame warmups and should be “su­per close” to full clear­ance for Mon­day’s prac­tice, ac­cord­ing to Quinn.

In­jury up­date

Ratelle, re- signed on Wed­nes­day, needed help leav­ing the field with an an­kle in­jury fol­low­ing his 15-yard catch in the sec­ond quar­ter. ... S Roben­son Therezie (hand) DT Joey Mbu (hand) were listed as ques­tion­able after leav­ing in the third quar­ter.

John Baze­more/AP

Fal­cons wide re­ceiver J.D. McKis­sic runs on Sept. 1 against the Jack­sonville de­fense.

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