It appeared the Tampa Bay Bucs were content to stuff the run as the game started in the Georgia Dome Sunday. Lovie Smith had seen enough of Devonta Freeman the past five weeks to know he was the force driving the Atlanta offense.
The Falcons’ first drive was impressive during the 14 play march downfield, but the ending was just another three points as they failed to punch it in for six.
Julio had the play of the game early on as he chased down a defender that picked off Ryan in the endzone to keep the defender from scoring. A flag negated the pick, however Jones’ effort didn’t go unappreciated by the crowd or Dan Quinn.
Julio quickly provided the lowlight of the game when he had the ball ripped out by Kwon Alexander after a nice catch and run. Think Bama v Miami in ‘92. Not a good look for the most physically impressive player on the Falcons roster.
Tampa converted the fumble into a field goal to tie it up and 3 -3 was the score after a quarter.
Tampa kept Freeman in check as the second quarter ticked away. The leading rusher in the NFL was being held to under two yards a carry.
The Falcons’ third drive ended in another red zone opportunity wasted. That one ended in Halloween type fashion with the Buccaneers recovering a low snap that Ryan couldn’t gather up.
Atlanta has gone from a taker of turnovers in the first four games into a giver of picks and fumbles the past three weeks.
The low snap turned into another field goal for Tampa, and the score was 6 – 3 Bucs near the end of the second.
The impressive Falcons of the first four weeks are nowhere to be found, and they would get killed by New England or Green Bay right now.
The last drive of the half by the home team culminated in another turnover as Matt Ryan threw a bad ball that ended up in the arms of Kwon Anderson. Ryan launched himself into Anderson for the stop as if he wanted no part of the second half. The Georgia Dome crowd would go along with that at this point.
Ryan has looked no better than a bottom tier QB the past three weeks.
This interception led to a Jameis Winston to Cameron Brate touchdown catch. Bucs up 13-3 at the half as the Falcons heard the boo birds from the home crowd. All the Bucs points coming off Atlanta turnovers.
Eric Weems set up the ATL with nice field position around midfield with his punt return to start the third quarter after a three and out from the Bucs.
The next drive by the Birds was a familiar one. A few good plays that were wasted by a red zone turnover as Ryan and Freeman could not complete a simple handoff. Bucs ball, defense pissed, Ryan booed.
Tampa is no team to get behind on. They can salt away a game with their running game when they get a rare lead.
The run game did set up a big pass interference call on Desmond Trufant to put Tampa deep in Atlanta territory. Trufant had back to back PI calls as he struggled against the monstrous Mike Evans. Trufant also went out with an injury after being embarrassed two plays in a row. Hate to say a guy faked an injury but even hall of famer DBs have done so to cover for being burnt. #DeionSanders
Winston took it into the end zone on a broken play to put his team up 20-3.
I’m forced to close my DraftKings app as I have visions of garbage time Devonta Freeman fantasy points. This damn game is not over!
The Birds closed the gap when Ryan hit Jacob Tamme for a seven-yard score to make it 20-10 with the PAT.
It’s tempting to watch the rest of the game on mute, so I don’t have to hear anymore about how Jameis Winston loves the game of football and was born for big moments. I just ate lunch.
Winston continued to move his team down the field on the next possession but had a big third-down pass dropped by Mike Evans. The Falcons gave the Bucs a first down anyway with another offsides penalty.
Atlanta did get the ball on a punt back after the Bucs drive stalled.
Atlanta got a huge fourth down conversion with Freeman picking up a drive saving yard. Roddy White got a big first down on his first catch of the game on a 19-yard pickup. Another red zone stall and the Birds ended up going for a field goal to make it 20-13 with just under five minutes to go.
Jameis Winston kept the Bucs’ next drive alive as he stayed upright to find Martin for a first down. Later facing a fourth down at the two-minute warning Tampa went with a bootleg by Winston that was stuffed by a great open field tackle by Ricardo Allen.
Atlanta started their last chance drive with under two to play. Penalties continued to hurt the home team. They overcame those as Ryan found Julio for an eight-yard score to make it a tie game with just 17 seconds remaining.
And we headed for overtime. Tampa would receive the kickoff. They put together a nice drive that was helped along by another PI call on a Falcons’ DB covering Mike Evans. That set the Bucs up on the Atlanta ten, but they failed to get in the end zone, settling for a field goal.
The field goal turned out to be enough as Atlanta failed to find any offensive flow in overtime. Their fourth down attempt was a failure like the entire drive. Tampa gets the win inside Atlanta’s home stadium 23-20.
The Falcons are still winless in the NFC South and headed nowhere fast.
- What the hell happened to Matt Ryan? He looked like a kingslayer the first few weeks and now resembles a bumbling court jester. With the running game going so well there is no need to force passes in the red zone that swing the game dramatically.
- The Atlanta defense continues to be put in bad spots by the vaunted Falcons offense. The “D” has handled these situations well recently, but can’t be expected to cover the offense’s ass on a weekly basis.
- The Falcons let Jameis Winston get comfortable, and that was a recipe for disaster. The Bucs QB is a rhythm passer that they let settle in when they had ample opportunity to rough him.
Julio Watch: Going into halftime Julio Jones had seven catches on eight targets to tally 112 yards. He was being outscored by a rookie tight end out of Harvard however and has to find the end zone more.
Tweets of the Game:
ATL fans very forgiving of Matty Ice?
Bandwagon jumpers…This was at the half. ATL fans not the most loyal
Red Zone woes
The Falcons true identity