Falcons rookie quarterback Dominique Davis put on a clinic for how to make a ball club as a free agent in the Falcons 24-19 loss to the Cincinatti Bengals Thursday night at the Georgia Dome.
Davis showed incredible poise leading the Falcons to one touchdown and narrowly falling short of a game winner in the final 5:46 of the game. Despite the limited touches, Davis finished with 121 yards passing on 11 of 18 passing.
Five of Davis’ incomplete passes on the final drive should be credited as drops by the backup receivers. Kenny Stafford and James Rodgers both dropped two in the final drive. Rodgers dropped a first down pass that would have kept the Falcons drive alive at the Bengals 25.
Neither offense looked particularly sharp early as a Mike Nugent field goal accounted for the only score through the first quarter. Atlanta tied the game early in the second quarter on a Matt Bryant 20 yard field goal.
Cinci’s Andy Dalton broke an old adage on the next drive answering the Falcons score. “Going to the well once too often” certainly didn’t apply to Dalton’s 50-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green.
Seconds after Falcons DB Asante Samuel broke up a pass intended for the Green in front of the Bengals bench, Dalton came right back to the lanky receiver.
“Anytime you see A.J. in one-on-one coverage, you’re going to throw it up there and give him a chance to make a play,” said Dalton on the play.
Matt Ryan completed 6 of 7 passes to tie the game on his final series at the helm. Newly signed veteran fullback Lousaka Polite made a twisting 2 yard catch at the goal line to give Atlanta its first touchdown of the game.
Atlanta took a brief lead going into halftime thanks to a 22 yard field goal by Matt Bryant. Backup Chris Redman’s pass to Drew Davis was tipped by ex-Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman into the hands of an alert Harry Douglas for a 23 yard play.
Cincinnati reclaimed the lead on the opening drive out of halftime. “Marvin (Lewis) stresses all the time about starting fast,” said veteran quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. “We have to come out of the locker room at halftime and move the ball.”
Gradkowski did just that guiding the offense to a 60 yard touchdown drive. Cinci’s third round pick out of Rutgers, Mohamed Sanu, out-jumped safety Chris Hope for the 12 yard score.
The Bengals backups added an insurance score in the fourth. Rookie free agent running back Jourdan Brooks (Morgan State) rushed 5 times for 12 yards including the game winner from a yard out with less than 6 minutes to play.
Davis entered the game on the Falcons ensuing drive and immediately set fire to the Bengals defense. In just over three and a half minutes, Davis completed 8 of 9 passes to four different receivers for the 80 yard score.
The 23 year old out of East Carolina also showed great decision making as well as a strong arm. In addition to putting passes where only the receiver could make a play, Davis picked up yards with his legs when the play wasn’t there.
There are no guarantees for Davis with four quarterbacks in camp. His performance undoubtedly peeked the interest of other teams that may be interested in a poised, strong-armed talent with loads of potential.
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