For the second straight week, the Falcons' reserves couldn't hold onto a lead and Atlanta coughed up a 13-10 halftime lead and eventually lost 24-19 to the Bengals on Thursday night.
Matt Ryan was 18 of 21 for 174 yards and threw one touchdown to Lousaka Polite, the fullback signed earlier this preseason. Throughout two preseason games, Ryan is 27 for 34 for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Thursday night gave the Falcons coaches one more opportunity to evaluate their roster, which doesn't have many open roster spots.
Dominique Davis, QB: Davis boosted his chances at landing the backup QB spot after completing 11-of-18 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The touchdown was the culmination of an 11-play, 80-yard drive with 5:38 left in the game. Davis is in a heated battle with both veteran Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson to make either the second-string or third-string quarterback slots.
LaMark Brown, TE: Brown was on the receiving end of Davis' touchdown that gave the Falcons a chance and brought the score to a more manageable 24-19 with just over 2:00 remaining in Thursday's game. Brown tied Roddy White with a team-high four catches for 47 yards and one of Brown's four targets went for 24 yards, tying the Falcons' longest play of the night.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB: It's clear that new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will utilize Rodgers in a completely different manner than he was used last season. Rodgers, a shifty halfback with steady hands, caught three passes for 11 yards last night while rushing for a team-high 24 yards. The Falcons plan to use Rodgers rolling out of the backfield on screens as a contrast to pounding RB Michael Turner.
Chris Redman QB: Redman got only six pass attempts last week vs. Baltimore so coach Mike Smith emphasized that Redman was going to get significant time under center. And although he was 10-of-15 passing Thursday night, the veteran missed on a third-quarter pass to Drew Davis from the Cincinnati 20 and was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback. “After a little bit of a slow start we picked up some steam and had some good execution but had some troubling moments in the red zone and that it something we have to get worked out,” head coach Mike Smith said.
Asante Samuel, CB: The brash veteran cornerback acquired for a seventh-round pick from the Eagles this offseason, was beaten on a third-and-15 pass to Bengals wideout A.J. Green which went for 50 yards early in the second quarter. “It was a double move and the receiver separated on the double move,” Smith said. “Listen, Asante has played very effective football for a long, lone time, it was a well executed play by the offense."
Michael Turner, RB: Turner is unquestionably the team's No. 1 running back but on Thursday night, he managed minus-3 rushing yards on just three attempts. Koetter and Smith have said how important a balanced offensive attack is yet they haven't really given Turner the opportunity to play thus far. Expect a concerted effort to run the ball next week vs. the Dolphins.
The Falcons get the day off on Friday.
For more Falcons coverage, follow Mike Singer @CBSSportsNFLATL.