Mike Evans reached several milestones today. He became the single season Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ record holder for total receiving yards passing Mark Carrier. Chris Godwin also had a huge day for Tampa Bay. Godwin reached the century mark in receiving yards for the second time in his career. Godwin also caught multiple touchdowns for the first time, in a single game, in his career. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense were too much to contain though, with Julio Jones’ big day of 138 receiving yards and his eighth touchdown in his last nine games.
A slow start to the game from both teams resulted in a low scoring first quarter. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers struck first, on a 93-yard touchdown drive capped off with a throw from Jameis Winston to Mike Evans. Evans became the youngest receiver in NFL history to reach 6,000 receiving yards, passing Randy Moss. Atlanta’s longest drive of the quarter was a 26-yard drive on their first possession of the game. However, it resulted in no points as the Buccaneers led 0-7 after one quarter.
Tampa Bay added to their lead in the second quarter with a 36-yard field goal from Cairo Santos. Chris Godwin came alive in the second quarter with four catches for 88 yards to add on to his lone reception in the first quarter. The second touchdown of the game came on a 30-yard bomb from Winston to Godwin in the second quarter. The touchdown extended the lead to 17 points. The only Atlanta points of the first half came on a 26-second drive at the end of the first half where Julio Jones caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to cut the lead down to 7-17.
The Falcons drew closer with their first possession of the third quarter with a long touchdown drive. The 14 play, 75-yard drive took nearly half of the quarter, but it ended in the endzone. A “Philly Special” type play from Mohamed Sanu to Matt Ryan brought the score to 14-17. Both teams exchanged field goals on their next possessions. An interception on a tipped pass by Jameis Winston, led to another touchdown for Atlanta. The touchdown gave the Falcons their first lead of the game at 24-20. Atlanta outscored Tampa Bay 17-3 in the third quarter.
The trend continued in the fourth quarter as the Falcons scored on their first possession. Matt Ryan to a wide open Calvin Ridley gave the Falcons a 31-20 lead. However, the momentum turned after the Buccaneers scored a touchdown of their own. Mike Evans caught his second touchdown of the day but the two point conversion was no good to Chris Godwin. Down 31-26, Andrew Adams intercepted Matt Ryan to give the Buccaneers the ball back. Winston led Tampa Bay back into the endzone to give the Buccaneers the lead back. Chris Godwin was the recipient on this touchdown, his second of the day, to give Tampa Bay the lead back at 31-32. The Falcons ran down the remainder of the clock and kicked a field goal to defeat the Buccaneers 34-32.
Matt Ryan reached 378 passing yards and two touchdowns with one interception for the Falcons. Julio Jones torched the Buccaneers again with nine receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Jameis Winston totaled 345 passing yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans combined for 12 catches and 220 yards with four touchdowns.
Atlanta finished the season with a record of 7-9 while Tampa Bay finished the season 5-11.