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Falcons Make Late Stop Against Trevor Lawrence To Preserve Victory

Defense steps up to shut down Jacksonville on potential game-tying drive

Falcons coach Arthur Smith claimed there was “no panic” on the Atlanta sideline when Jacksonville got the ball back with 2:14 left and down just a touchdown Sunday.

Fans of the Dirty Birds had to feel differently.

No.1 pick Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars were 82 yards from the tying score after Falcons failed to convert on third down. Unlike the results of the last two weeks, most Atlanta games seem to come down to the wire.

The Falcons played six consecutive games decided by a touchdown or less before back-to-back blowout losses to the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. The Jags, playing at home, had momentum, scoring 11 unanswered points in the second half to make it a game.

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But there was no drama on Jacksonville’s last gasp.

Lawrence threw four incompletions in a row, as Atlanta’s defense held tough to protect the one-score lead. Two kneel downs followed as the Falcons (5-6) celebrated a 21-14 win to snap a two-game skid.

“It felt good for us to go out there and close out the game like that,” defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. said. “I think we were playing pretty good throughout the whole game, and it was a clutch moment and time for us to stand up, and we did that.”

The defense has only allowed two touchdowns in the last two games. That kind of performance will be necessary if Atlanta hopes to make a move in the NFC playoff race.

The Falcons have a huge test next Sunday with defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay coming to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Buccaneers beat Atlanta 48-25 earlier this season.