Thursday Aug. 29, 2019
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons ended a 12-game, preseason losing streak with a 31-12 victory against Jacksonville on Thursday night and seemingly found a solution to their kicking woes.
Matt Bryant is scheduled to try out for coaches and front office personnel at the team's training facility Friday. Assuming the 44-year-old kicker is healthy, he's expected to sign on for a 19th NFL season -- his 11th with the Falcons. He also has played for the New York Giants, Indianapolis, Miami and Tampa Bay.
Bryant and the Falcons parted ways in the offseason, with the veteran leaving Atlanta as the franchise's leading scorer (1,122 points). His 158 points in 2016 set the team's single-season scoring mark.
Even before Giorgio Tavecchio missed his fifth field-goal attempt of the preseason, the Falcons had plans to bring Bryant back.
Tavecchio was wide left from 53 yards late in the second quarter. He fell to 4 of 9 on field-goal attempts this preseason, also missing from 54, 52, 52 and 39 yards.
The Falcons (1-4) worked out three kickers -- Elliott Fry, Younghoe Koo and Blair Walsh -- last week and discussed the possibility of bringing in Bryant. They settled on Walsh, at least temporarily. Walsh made his lone attempt Thursday night, hitting from 46 yards.
Atlanta's kicking situation was one of the main story lines coming into the exhibition finale for both teams.
The Falcons rested 35 players, including all their starters. The Jaguars held out 40 players, including all their first-teamers.
Danny Etling completed 15 of 25 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. Etling also scrambled for 69 yards. Tony Brooks-James, who grew up in nearby Gainesville, ran 15 times for 137 yards and two scores. He had a 52-yard TD scamper just before the two-minute warning.
Etling and Brooks-James are likely headed to the Falcons' practice squad.
Atlanta's previous exhibition victory came Sept. 1, 2016, a 17-15 win against the Jaguars.
Jacksonville (0-4) finished winless in the preseason for the first time in franchise history and scored its fewest points (29). The previous low was 59 in 2004.
Rookie Gardner Minshew completed 11 of 26 passes for 79 yards for Jacksonville. Minshew has locked up the backup spot behind Nick Foles.