The Falcons pulled out a much needed win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This was the first of two meetings between the teams. This game was also the last of the Falcons home divisional games. The Falcons hung on to their early lead in a last minute thriller, 34-29.
OFFENSE – FIRST HALF
The offense was extremely explosive to start the game. Matt Ryan was perfect with completions in the first quarter going 11-11 for 125 yards. He ended the second quarter 20-24 for 240 yards.
However, the offense had to deal with big injuries to the wide receivers in this game. Calvin Ridley had three receptions for 47 yards before being ruled out with ankle injury. Mohamed Sanu also had a big impact by catching a 35-yard touchdown before ending his day because of a hip injury. The offense was able to get Julio Jones involved early with seven catches for 79 yards in the first half. They also put together a drive of three plays for 48 yards in 26 seconds to get into FG range before the half.
OFFENSE – SECOND HALF
In the second half the Falcons offense could not get the same productivity as they did in the first half. They did not score during the entire third quarter. The offense finally put a touchdown drive together after the Bucs came within 2 points in the fourth quarter.
In total Matt Ryan passed for three touchdowns bringing him to 274 TD passes in his career by the end of the game. Ryan is now 16th in passing touchdowns topping Joe Montana’s career high.
Dan Quinn made a risky call by going for a 57-yard field goal attempt at the end of the game to stretch the lead from two to five points. This forced the Buccaneers to have to get a touchdown instead of a FG to win the game.
DEFENSE – FIRST HALF
The defense shocked fans with an impressive start. They forced two back to back punts after Tampa Bay’s first touchdown drive. Demontae Kazee got an interception at the one-yard line giving him an interception in each of the last three games. The defense gave the offense the opportunity to get a big lead during the first two quarters with the stops out of field goal range. The score was 21-6 at the half.
DEFENSE – SECOND HALF
The defense began playing the way they have been for the last few games in the second half. The second interception came in the end zone by Brian Poole after a bounce off Duke Riley’s back in the third quarter.
The Buccaneers offense was then able to get three drives that ended in scores after the interception. The game came down to the last play of the game where the Bucs needed a touchdown to win the game. The play was close to being a completed miracle when they tried a little trickery with seven seconds left in regulation. Jameis Winston took off down the middle of the field, once he was tackled he tossed it back to Adam Humphries. Humpries dropped it and it was recovered by Mike Evans who threw it in the direction of Desean Jackson. Much to the Falcons relief, Jackson couldn’t come up with it at the 5-yard line with a clear shot at the end zone.
The Falcons have snapped their three game losing streak. They also got a division win which brings their divisional record to 2-1 and their conference record to 2-2. The division is still open for this team especially with a loss by the Carolina Panthers this week. The Falcons will play the NY Giants next Monday in Atlanta.