1) Fast Start
The reserves on both sides of the football executed well in the first 30 minutes as they battled to make the 53-man roster. On offense, the unit found the end zone on their first two offensive possessions behind quarterback Brock Osweiler. The veteran finished the first half 11-of-14 and a one-yard touchdown completion to Buddy Howell. Osweiler orchestrated scoring drives of 75 and 55 yards to jump start the offense. Defensively, the group was able to get off the field, forcing punts on Atlanta’s first two possessions. This group also produced a couple of sacks and turnovers as the game progressed, highlighted by the play of safety Jordan Lucas and defensive end Cameron Malveaux.
2) Young Runners Impress
It was nice to see rookie runners explode on the scene and take advantage of their opportunities. Kalen Ballage and Buddy Howell ran with power and speed, finding ways to keep drives alive. Ballage, who has been slowed in the preseason by a concussion, was impressive running and catching the ball out of the backfield. He also contributed on special teams with an open field tackle, proving his overall athletic ability. Howell, who will likely start the season on the practice roster, continued to gain yards after first contact. He found the end zone on the ground from one-yard out and had three receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown.
3) Battle at Back-Up Quarterback
It was Brock Osweiler and David Fales going the distance in the final preseason game, trying to impress and secure the back-up position. Osweiler has some ground to make up coming into the game, and played well enough to make it a difficult decision for the coaching staff. He finished the game connecting on 16-of-26 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The veteran quarterback led the offense into the end zone on the first two series and a 14-0 lead. Fales didn’t do anything to lose ground on the back-up job, completing 13-of-20 passes for 94 yards. He brings quick decision making and the ability to extend plays with his legs, so this decision might go into Saturday undecided until late that afternoon.