Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons will be the biggest game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yet this season. With the Falcons sitting at 9-2, the 7-4 Bucs need a win against them in order to keep pace in the NFC South, which also has the New Orleans Saints with a record of 8-3. A loss will almost insure that the Bucs’ only chance at getting in the playoffs will be as a wildcard team.
“This is almost a must win,” said rookie defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. “Not really almost, it is a must win. We have to get this one.”
Tampa Bay almost won their first meeting against the Falcons a month ago. With the Bucs down by six points, quarterback Josh Freeman led the Bucs down the field for what would have been another fourth quarter comeback, but running back LeGarrette Blount got stopped on fourth-and-1 near the Falcons’ goal line and the Bucs lost 27-21.
In that game Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was proficient, but not spectacular and completed 24-of-36 for 235 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. But it is not the MVP candidate quarterback that concerns McCoy and the defense the most.
“We have to stop (Michael) Turner, you have to stop him, man,” said McCoy. “There would be times that we did stop him, but couldn’t get off on third downs. We have to change that. We have to get off the field and give our offense a chance and we didn’t do that so well in the last game, especially in the first half. They were running whatever play they wanted to so we have to change that.”
Against the Bucs on November 7th, Turner had 107 yards on 24 carries (4.5 avg.) and rushed for two touchdowns. If the Bucs are going to win their first game of the season against a playoff contender then they are going to have to slow down Turner and the Falcons running game.
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