WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY'S 24-23 LOSS TO ATLANTA?
A missed field goal and missed opportunities halted Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak as Atlanta prevailed, 24-23, at Raymond James Stadium to improve to 10-1 on the season. Even though the Bucs won the turnover battle against the Falcons 2-0, they fell to 6-5 on the season because they were only able to convert those takeaways into just six points.
“It was a hard-fought football games by both football teams,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “Missed opportunities are a big part of it.”
A sack by cornerback E.J. Biggers forced a fumble by Matt Ryan that was recovered by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy at the Atlanta 36. That turnover led to a 48-yard field goal for Tampa Bay that gave the team a 23-17 lead before Atlanta’s final touchdown with 7:55 left.
“That falls in the missed opportunity category. We’ve been very good about scoring touchdowns off turnovers. It’s hard to win games by threes. Sevens add up considerably quicker.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan, who was 26-of-32 for 353 yards with one touchdown and one interception, led Atlanta to the go-ahead score, which was a 3-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner to put the Falcons up 24-23. A costly defensive holding call by free safety Ahmad Black on third-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 5 on Harry Douglas gave Atlanta a first-and-goal situation from the 3-yard line to set up Turner’s critical touchdown.
The Bucs tried to answer on their next possession, but Connor Barth, who made field goals from 22 and 48 yards earlier in the game, missed on a 56-yarder with 3:37 left in regulation.
“My confidence in Connor is that he is going to make it,” Schiano said. “He’s proven that to be the case. But again, it was another missed opportunity.”
After Matt Bryant missed his second field goal of the game from 48 yards, the Bucs got one last shot at a game-winning score, but Josh Freeman’s Hail Mary pass was broken up in the end zone.
Freeman was 19-of-30 for 256 yards with no interceptions but without any touchdowns, either. It was the first time Freeman has not thrown a TD pass all season.
“Every time you lose you question whether you could have gotten more points on individual drives,” Freeman said. “Ultimately, we didn’t score enough points to win.”
The Falcons defense did a credible job of shutting down rookie running back Doug Martin, who was held to 50 yards on 21 carries (2.4 avg.), but scored two touchdowns for Tampa Bay.
“They loaded the box and did a lot outside of their tendencies,” Freeman said. “If you can contain a guy like Doug that is saying a lot. The main issue is not scoring enough.”
Wide receiver Julio Jones led the way for the Falcons with six catches for 147 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown against rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson to put Atlanta up 17-13 in the third quarter.
“Eighty of it is on one play. If you don’t give up the big monster play by that quarterback and you are in this,” Schiano said.
The Buccaneers jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 1-yard touchdown run by Martin. The Falcons scored a touchdown on a 5-yard run by Jacquizz Rodgers to pull ahead 10-7 in the second quarter before the Bucs tied it up with a 22-yard field goal by Barth after Ronde Barber picked off Ryan to set Tampa Bay up in Atlanta territory.
Bryant missed a chip shot, 22-yard field goal right as time expired in the first half. Atlanta coach Mike Smith called a timeout prior to Bryant’s field goal and apparently iced his own kicker. The Falcons ran 34 plays compared to the Bucs’ 17, but the score was still 10-10 at halftime.
Barth’s 42-yard field goal in the third quarter gave the Bucs a 13-10 lead, but Jones’ 80-yard touchdown catch gave Atlanta a 17-13 lead. Freeman brought the Bucs back with passes of 39 and 15 yards to Tiquan Underwood, who had five receptions for 77 yards and Vincent Jackson, who had five catches for 96 yards, respectively. Those throws help set up Martin’s 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Bucs a short-lived lead before Atlanta’s final touchdown sealed Tampa Bay’s fate.
“The Falcons are a great team and we get another shot at them in five weeks, but today was their day,” Freeman said. “We are prepared to take this thing to Denver.”
The 6-5 Bucs travel to Denver to play Peyton Manning and the 8-3 Broncos next Sunday.HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. FALCONS SCORING SERIES
First Quarter – Falcons 3, Buccaneers 0
Atlanta took over seven minutes to score on its opening possession, driving 72 yards down to the Tampa Bay 13 before having to settle for 31-yard field goal by Matt Bryant to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead. Matt Ryan was 4-of-4 for 26 yards, including a 13-yard pass to Julio Jones, while Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 32 yards on four carries, including a 20-yard run.First Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Falcons 3
Josh Freeman had throws of 21 and 22 yards to tight end Dallas Clark and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, respectively, to help drive the Bucs 81 yards for a touchdown. Freeman was 4-of-4 for 56 yards on the drive, while Doug Martin had six carries for 25 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run to give Tampa Bay a 7-3 lead.Second Quarter – Falcons 10, Buccaneers 7
The Falcons answered with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. Ryan was 5-of-5 for 64 yards with a 15-yard strike to Jones and a 20-yard pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez, and he also scrambled for 13 yards to get the Falcons into scoring territory. Rodgers scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to put Atlanta ahead.Second Quarter – Buccaneers 10, Falcons 10
Bucs free safety Ronde Barber picked off Ryan at the Tampa Bay 41 and returned the ball 28 yards to the Atlanta 31. On the Bucs’ first play, Mike Williams threw a 28-yard pass to Vincent Jackson down to the 3-yard line. But after three cracks at the end zone, the Bucs lost three yards and had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Connor Barth to tie the game at 10-10.Third Quarter – Buccaneers 13, Falcons 10
The Bucs took 13 plays to move deep into Falcons territory for a 42-yard field goal by Barth to give Tampa Bay a 13-10 lead. Freeman hit Underwood with a 7-yard strike on third-and-5 and Clark for a gain of 13 on third-and-4 from the Tampa Bay 32 to move the chains. Freeman was at it again on third-and-10 from the Bucs’ 45 with a 31-yard strike to Jackson down to the Atlanta 24. But the drive stalled there and the Bucs had to settle for Barth’s field goal.Third Quarter – Falcons 17, Bucs 13
On the Falcons’ next play from scrimmage, Ryan hit Jones with an 80-yard touchdown over rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson to put Atlanta up 17-13.Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 20, Falcons 17
Freeman had two big throws – a 39-yarder to Underwood and a 15-yard strike to Jackson down to the Atlanta 30 – to put the Bucs in scoring territory. Martin rushed for seven yards before Freeman and Jackson connected again on a 12-yard pass to the Atlanta 11. A 10-yard run by Martin preceded his 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Bucs a short-lived 20-17 lead.Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 23, Falcons 17
Cornerback E.J. Biggers sacked Ryan on third-and-1 at the Atlanta 37, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. However, the Bucs couldn’t convert a first down and had to settle for a 48-yard field goal by Barth to push Tampa Bay’s lead to 23-17.Fourth Quarter – Falcons 24, Buccaneers 23
Rodgers caught a 32-yard pass from Ryan to move the Falcons to the Bucs 32. A 15-yard catch by Jones moved the ball to the Tampa Bay 10. A defensive holding penalty on free safety Ahmad Black on third-and goal from the Tampa Bay 5 gave the Falcons a first-and-goal from the 3 and Michael Turner scored on the next play to put Atlanta ahead 24-23.WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?
Buccaneers free safety Ronde Barber recorded his 47th career interception on Sunday and now has four on the year to lead the team. … Cornerback Danny Gorrer saw his first action as a Buccaneer on Sunday. … Wide receiver Mike Williams threw his first NFL pass, a 28-yarder to Vincent Jackson, to help set up Tampa Bay’s field goal in the second quarter. … Cornerback E.J. Biggers recorded his first career sack when he dropped Matt Ryan on third-and-1 at the Atlanta 37, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. … Rookie running back Doug Martin scored two touchdowns to push his season total to nine on the season. The team record is 13, set by running back James Wilder, who had 13 in 1984. … After catching five passes for 96 yards on Sunday, wide receiver Vincent Jackson has 959 yards receiving on 47 catches.WHO WAS THE PEWTERREPORT.COM BUCS MVP?
On a day where the Bucs defense had its ups and downs, free safety Ronde Barber was the steadiest defender for Tampa Bay in its 24-23 loss to NFC South-leading Atlanta. Barber was tied for the team lead with weakside linebacker Lavonte David with eight stops, including a tackle for loss.
More importantly, Barber recorded his fourth interception of the season, which leads the team, in the second quarter as he stepped in front of Falcons wide receiver Roddy White. Barber returned the pick 28 yards to the Atlanta 31 and set up Tampa Bay for a 22-yard field goal by Connor Barth, which tied the game at 10-10 with 3:41 left in the first half. For his efforts, Barber, who also had a pass breakup against Atlanta, is the PewterReport.com Bucs MVP.WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?
Bucs' inactives against the Falcons were: CB Eric Wright, RB Michael Smith, LB Najee Goode, S Cody Grimm, C/G Cody Wallace, WR David Douglas and DT Matthew Masifilo.
Falcons’ inactives against the Bucs were: QB Dominique Davis, WR Tim Toone, S Charles Mitchell, G Phillipkeith Manley, G Harlan Gunn, DE Lawrence Sidbury and DT Peria Jerry.WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?
Bucs center Ted Larsen was shaken up with 3:52 left in the second quarter. Jeremy Zuttah moved to center and Roger Allen was inserted at left guard for a play before Larsen returned.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
• A holding penalty by right tackle Demar Dotson and an illegal hands to the face penalty by right guard Jamon Meredith negated a 42-yard catch-and-run down to the Atlanta 45. That set up Tampa Bay with a second-and-23 from its own 7 and ultimately a punt two plays later.
• Right before halftime, the Bucs had three chances to punch the ball in from the Falcons’ 3-yard line, but after a 2-yard gain to the 1-yard line, Tampa Bay had an incompletion and a 3-yard loss and settle to settle for a 22-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10.
• Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson gave up an 80-yard touchdown catch to Julio Jones in Cover 3 to put Atlanta up 17-13 in the third quarter.
• A defensive holding call on free safety Ahmad Black on third-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 5 gave Atlanta’s offense new life and a first down at the 3. Michael Turner scored a touchdown for Atlanta on the next play to put the Falcons up 24-23.
• Tampa Bay’s clock management was rather poor, especially at the end of each half. The Bucs left a timeout on the board in the first half and Greg Schiano didn’t use any of Tampa Bay’s three timeouts in the second half until after the two-minute warning. The Bucs let close to 30 seconds run off the clock before the two-minute warning and didn’t call a timeout to salvage the clock. Tampa Bay got to its own 47-yard line before time expired and could have used a few more precious seconds to help get into field goal range to attempt a game-winning kick.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Tampa Bay (6-5) travels to Denver to play the Broncos (8-3) on Sunday, December 2 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox.
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.