ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 01: Howard Jones #95 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers forces a fumble by Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the Georgia Dome on November 1, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Another double-digit lead evaporated Sunday but the Buccaneers did just enough to hang on and beat NFC South rival Atlanta for a 23-20 overtime victory.
Clinging to a three-point advantage after settling for a 31-yard Connor Barth field goal on the extra period’s opening possession, the Tampa Bay defense stepped up when it mattered most. Atlanta was faced with fourth-and-7 from its own 42 and quarterback Matt Ryan’s pass under duress fell incomplete to seal the Bucs’ third win of the season.
Tampa Bay led by as much as 17 points after its second possession of the third quarter when Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston scrambled for a 4-yard touchdown and a 20-3 edge.
The touchdown was Winston’s second of two on the day. Late in the first half he hit tight end Cameron Brate with a 20-yard score. Brate, a second-year pro out of Harvard, caught two passes for 48 yards and the touchdown was his first in the NFL.
Following Winston’s touchdown scramble, though, memories of last week’s 24-point collapse in Washington began to resurface. Atlanta reeled off 17 straight points, culminated by Ryan’s game-tying, 8-yard hookup to receiver Julio Jones with 17 seconds left in regulation.
“Last week was tough for us,” Winston said in his postgame press conference. “That’s still in the back of our minds. Even though we put it behind us we want to win football games.”
After winning the overtime coin toss and electing to receive, the Bucs and Winston went on a 15-play, 68-yard drive that ended with Barth’s field goal. To get down inside the Falcons 10-yard line, Winston connected on three third-down passes but missed a potential game-winner on third-and-4 from the 7 to rookie receiver Adam Humphries.
Winston finished his day completing 16 of 29 attempts for 177 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He added 24 and the third-quarter score with his legs.
Tampa Bay was outgained by over 200 yards, 496-290, but the defense came up with three fumble recoveries and an interception of Ryan to limit Atlanta’s ability to score points.
Turning in a huge game was middle linebacker Kwon Alexander. The rookie played Sunday with a heavy heart after the recent death of his younger brother, Broderick Taylor. Alexander responded to the tragedy by leading all defenders with 11 tackles, picking off Ryan in the second quarter and ripping a ball away from Jones in the first quarter.
All 20 of Tampa Bay’s points in regulation came as a result of Atlanta giveaways as the Bucs won the turnover battle 4-0.
Tampa Bay will try to string together back-to-back wins for a third time this season next week when the Bucs return home to host the New York Giants at 4:05 p.m.
WR Donteea Dye, LT Donovan Smith, LG Logan Mankins, C Joe Hawley, RG Ali Marpet, RT Gosder Cherilus, TE Luke Stocker, WR Mike Evans, QB Jameis Winston, RB Doug Martin, FB Jorvorskie Lane
LDE Will Gholston, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Akeem Spence, RDE Jacquies Smith, SLB Danny Lansanah, MLB Kwon Alexander, WLB Lavonte David, CB Johnthan Banks, CB Mike Jenkins, SS Chris Conte, FS Bradley McDougald
QB Ryan Griffin, CB Tim Jennings, S Major Wright, DT Tony McDaniel, WR Vincent Jackson, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DT Clinton McDonald
DID NOT PLAY
QB Mike Glennon, C Evan Smith
Paid attendance: 70,524, Georgia Dome
Game time: 3:34
Ok Haters. Bucs have won 3 games, and Winston has looked pretty good. Offense is showing some strength. Defense continues to struggle but seriously, do we still need to fire Smith and get rid of Winston ?
I have seat 23 and think YES… both can go please !
Say what you will. This is a monumental game. We beat one of the better teams in the NFC in their stadium with a rookie QB, and our offense was good. This could be the game that we look back on and say, I think our greatness started when we beat the Falcons when everyone said it could not happen.
What a nail biting win but a win nonetheless! Both the offense and defense were up and down but we’re up when it counted at the end. It also feels good to be on the other side of the most penalized team in the game. Go Bucs! We still have the rest of the season to decide what to make of Lovie, Winston, Licht and the young players on the team.
I can’t stand it when the word hater’s has to be thrown out there. I’m glad as heck we won and was happy when we went for it towards the end of the game. No question we have pass rush and slow as molassis Safety’s, but I’ll take the win anytime I can get it. Good game Offense; way to hang in there Defense and save the win. Go Bucs!
There has been a lot of negativity written on this site about the Bucs. Even by Pewter Report. The expectations of some of the fair weather fans for this team after winning 2 games last year were just absurd. It will take yrs to get back to being a competitive team. We took a step towards that today.
Bucs didn’t survive Atlanta, they beat Atlanta! Falcons never had the lead. Tell it like it is! We beat them soundly…in their neighborhood! I stayed silent last week and read all the hate mail. Pretty much nobody gave them a chance. When they do win, don’t belittle it. I’m proud of the way they performed on both sides of the ball! Who’s next?
Yup. Big win. This is going to help confidence with a young team. Bucs need to stay healthy and work on getting talent on the defensive side of the ball. I never thought our secondary would be this bad.
We won in spite of Lovie not because of him. More soft coverage, no pass rush, no Lavonte and a glimpse of McCoy. Then we go for it on 4th down this week at the 40 but not last week at the 1? Then he says it was the right call and would do it 10 out of 10 times. Great win but Lovie still managed to make a game out of what should have been a comfortable win.
First of all I’m glad we squeaked out a win in OT finally in a game that shouldn’t have even been that close. Haters? Lol. Stillbucsfan I agree we won in spite of Lovie and his defense (secondary especially!) not because of them. If not for the quirky turnovers and sloppy play by Atlanta with 400 passing yards by them we would have been blown out so spare me the “haters” and Lovie is a good coach crap! I have no issue with Koetter’s offense or Winston. Both showing improvement each week. Lovie knew his defense wouldn’t hold so he went for it on 4th down to avoid the heat again. Have no doubt if we had better head coach we would be 4-3 not 3-4. If we had a FG kicker early on and had not collapsed under horrible defense and defensive play calling lately would at least be 4-3. Not enough talent you say? Not Lovies fault? Whatever. Garbage. Plenty of talent to be 4-3 right now period.
What a nail biter. Good to see us puul one out. Do I still think we need to fire Lovie? I think he owes Jameis a pay increase this week for saving his ass again.
Lovie reasoning the going for it on 4th down made no sense. I love the guts to go for it and the stats say go for it. But if you’re afraid of your defense going on the field and getting smoked again, why give Atlanta the ball at their own 40?
As for the play call, what surprised me is they run a play and call a time out, and then run the same play?! What the heck was that. All in all great game by the line and Jameis as this one was a willed victory by our QB.
Secondary was swiss cheese as always and zero pressure from the front four. Mccoy was doing his best Halloween ghost impression as he was invisible all game.
ASJ better get his ass back in the lineup next week as well, but I do like Adam Humphries in the slot. Jameis will just have to get used to throwing from all of his big targets and bring the trows down a bit.
Surprised me with this win, I will be honest. Hell the people at the bar I was watching the game at practically gave me a standing ovation when the bucs won. They know our pain. haha.
Jamies was up and down, but up when it counted. A veteran quarterback makes that connection with Humphries The Buccaneers had a good game plan. Lovie’s critics aren’t likely to go away but I see a much better and more determined team out there each Sunday. We just don’t have the safeties and cornerbacks to compete against top quarterbacks or even mediocre ones. All the speed is in out front 7 on defense. Considering that Evans was banged up and we have a bunch of rookies at wide receiver, it’s amazing that we were able to outscore Atlanta. At 3-4, we’re at or better than where most people thought we’d be. With two defensive drafts, we’ll be an elite team with or without Lovie. Everytime PR calls for Lovie to be fired, the Buccaneers win. I still think Jamies got a bad spot on the 4th down run. Good call by Lovie, even though it didn’t work out.
Agree with you.
Ever heard the expression “took the words right out of my mouth”? Well you did just that. Couldn’t have said it better!
What worries me is that other teams are starting to figure out that they can pass on us. We cannot get to the QB, and our secondary cannot cover. If we cannot improve teams will just pass on us the rest of the year. We can stop the run, but why bother. just throw it every play and we will find a way to lose. Hoping our DL play improves.
That was absolutely a bad spot buddah…..by at least a foot.
Another great write up EH. The attention to grammar, punctuation and narrative structure is appreciated.
This was a weird game. Glad to have the win, but I’m still conflicted how to feel about the team overall.
I know what it feels like to lose – hey, I’m a Buc fan for 40 years. I have never not thoroughly enjoyed a win. There have been so few wins, save our 2002 season that whenever we get one – especially one that we are not expected to win, I’m ecstatic! We’ve got more warts than a frog, but every once in a while we look like a prince. I have nothing but praise for my Bucs today. I reserve the right to be terribly upset the next time we lose, but not today, my friends, not today!
A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning. – Billie Jean King
I’m with you macabee. A win is a win but in Bucville some still want to complain so much they try to turn victory into a moral loss. They’ll even try to use statistics to prove the Bucs should have lost. Can’t have it both ways unless you’re Bruce/Caitlin Jenner.
Very few pretty wins in the NFL, unless you’re the Patriots. More games are lost then won, and you can say the Hawks lost this one due to their unforced errors. Our D, and Lovie’s coaching still suck, but today we’re winners. The biggest positive from this season no matter how our record goes is we have ourselves a quarterback.
Getting frustrated with Coach Smith. It seems like a return to the Dungy days but not in a good way. Dungy played not to lose. The difference is that Dungy had one of the best defenses ever. While I agree with the call to go for it on 4th down (playing to win) I am mad as hell that he called a timeout right before the snap. That allowed Atlanta to see the play develop. Then they come back with the exact same play only by then Atlanta had diagnosed it and it didn’t stand a chance. Smith doesn’t call time out before the half to get the team a chance to score and then he calls for one at the wrong time. He is also responsible for a defense that is underperforming despite quality players.
I don’t know…..I just look at it in simple terms. We won and I feel good today. Jamies was good when it counted. Defense scares me late in games though.
And Lovie always scares me.
Here’s a fun/scary fact:
– Current record = 3-4
– Loss to Wash in last minute
– Loss to CAR with stats that dominated the game (apart from t/o’s)
– Loss to TEX by 10, with Brindza missing 10 pts
Is this a league of parity??? Could we easily be 6-2 right now…with the worst secondary in the league…scary!!!!
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