WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 41-28 WIN vs. ATLANTATo say that Tampa Bay gained some momentum from Monday night’s 22-19 win over Miami, which was the first victory of the season for the Buccaneers, is an understatement.
The Bucs came out an overwhelmed the visiting Atlanta Falcons, who entered the game with a 2-7 record, racing out to a 24-6 halftime lead and surging to a 41-13 lead in the third quarter before getting their second win of the season, 41-28. It was the most points Tampa Bay had scored since a 42-32 win at Oakland a year ago.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to put some points up like that,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “That was exciting. I was really pleased with the mix of the older guys that made plays today, the guys that we count on, Gerald McCoy, Vincent Jackson, Dashon [Goldson], Lavonte [David] and Mason [Foster]. But it was also good to see all those rookies that contributed, starting with Mike Glennon – only three incompletions – a [second-year player] in Bobby Rainey, who just ran the ball very, very well.”
Rainey exploded for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries (5.4 avg.), while Glennon completed 20-of-23 passes for 231 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions to outduel Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. Glennon hit wide receiver Vincent Jackson with 10 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, while raining caught two passes for four yards, including a 4-yard score.
Rainey became the first Buccaneer running back to rush for two touchdowns and have a receiving touchdown in team history. Glennon now has 11 touchdown passes on the season, which breaks Tampa Bay’s rookie record of 10 set by Josh Freeman in 2009. Glennon has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in seven consecutive games, which is also a franchise record.
Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy set the tone early on defense with a career-high three first half sacks, which gives him a team-leading six sacks on the season. The Bucs defense forced three turnovers and had a turnover on downs stopping Atlanta on fourth-and-2 in the second quarter.
“The best part of it was right from the jump,” Schiano said. “I think we had two [on the first drive] and that to me was critical. It set the tone and you could see it. When you get a quarterback early like that, his feet get a little bit nervous. That’s what we kept harping on all day was let’s keep getting him off the spot. Gerald, we challenged him. He played two All-Pro games the last two games. We said, ‘Can you do it? Can you do it week in and week out? And he showed up and did it, without a doubt.”
Middle linebacker Mason Foster picked off Ryan and returned the ball 37 yards for a touchdown to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 17-7 in the second quarter. Bucs free safety Dashon Goldson had an interception and forced a fumble that was recovered by strong safety Mark Barron.
Ryan, who was not sacked in the first meeting this year, which was won by Atlanta 31-23, completed just 19-of-36 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Harry Douglas led the Falcons with six catches for 134 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown late in the third quarter against rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks, who left the game with an injured shoulder in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons ran the ball 20 times for 152 yards, but two of those carries were by Antone Smith, who went for 88 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, in garbage time late in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Bay’s special teams also contributed to the team’s second win of the season. The Bucs recovered a surprise onside kick in the second quarter after going up 10-0 and stole a possession away from the Falcons. In the third quarter, Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson blocked a punt to set up a touchdown drive that ended with Jackson’s 3-yard touchdown catch to push Tampa Bay’s lead to 38-6 in the third quarter.
“The biggest thing is we didn’t turn the ball over once,” Schiano said. “Again, we protected the football and took it away. We took it away two times, plus the onside [kick recovery], plus the blocked punt. So really, we stole four possessions, and if you can do that, you can win games.”
The win was one of the most complete victories in the Schiano era and gives Tampa Bay a little momentum heading into Detroit to face the 6-4 Lions next Sunday.
HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. FALCONS SCORING SERIESFirst Quarter – Buccaneers 3, Falcons 0Tampa Bay got on the scoreboard first thanks to the running of Bobby Rainey, who rushed for 11 yards, 10 yards, 11 yards and seven yards on his first four runs to get the Bucs in field goal range. Rian Lindell’s 30-yard field goal gave the Bucs a 3-0 lead.
First Quarter – Buccaneers 3, Falcons 3Atlanta QB Matt Ryan hit Harry Douglas with a gain of 14 yards and running back Steven Jackson with a 12-yard pass. A 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Adrian Clayborn advanced the ball into Tampa Bay territory, but the Falcons’ drive stalled after Gerald McCoy sacked Ryan for the third time in the first half. Matt Bryant’s 46-yard field goal got the Falcons on the scoreboard and tied the game at 3-3.
Second Quarter – Buccaneers 10, Falcons 3Tampa Bay drove 81 yards in four plays. The big play was a 47-yard, one-handed catch by wide receiver Vincent Jackson over cornerback Asante Samuel. After a holding penalty by Ted Larsen negated a big gain by Rainey on a screen pass, Rainey took off for a 43-yard touchdown on second-and-19 to give Tampa Bay a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.
Second Quarter – Buccaneers 17, Falcons 3Bucs middle linebacker Mason Foster picked off Ryan and returned the ball 37 yards for a touchdown to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 17-3.
Second Quarter – Buccaneers 24, Falcons 3After Dashon Goldson forced a fumble on Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, which was recovered by strong safety Mark Barron, the Bucs took over at the Tampa Bay 47. Rainey ripped off gains of nine and six yards before an Atlanta facemask penalty tacked on 15 more yards down to the Atlanta 23. A 20-yard strike to Tiquan Underwood set the Bucs up with a first-and-goal at the Falcons’ 3, and Rainey scored on a 3-yard touchdown run on the next play to give the Bucs a 24-3 lead.
Second Quarter – Buccaneers 24, Falcons 6A 15-yard personal foul against Goldson and a pass interference penalty on cornerback Johnthan Banks aided the Falcons on their scoring drive, which ended in a 49-yard field goal by Matt Bryant.
Third Quarter – Buccaneers 31, Falcons 6A pass interference penalty on Desmond Trufant gave the Bucs a first down. On second-and-7 at the Tampa Bay 43 Jackson hauled in a 53-yard gain down to the Atlanta 4. On the next play, Glennon hit Rainey for a 4-yard touchdown pass to build the Bucs’ lead to 38-6.
Third Quarter – Buccaneers 38, Falcons 6After Dekoda Watson blocked a punt, the Bucs took over at the Falcons 20-yard line. Rainey ran up the middle for a 9-yard gain. On fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 11, Rainey picked up one yard. Three plays later on third down, Glennon hit Jackson for a 3-yard touchdown to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 38-13.
Third Quarter – Buccaneers 38, Falcons 13Ryan connected on an 80-yard touchdown pass to Harry Douglas to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 38-13.
Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 41, Falcons 13Rainey ran for 25 yards on five carries and Jackson caught two passes for 15 yards as the Bucs got into field goal range. A holding penalty on Jamon Meredith backed the Bucs up. Lindell’s 46-yard field goal was good to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 41-13.
Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 41, Falcons 21Dominique Davis replaced Ryan at quarterback and completed two passes for 20 yards before handing the ball off on a draw to Antone Smith, who raced 50 yards for a touchdown to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 41-21. Davis’ 2-point conversion pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez was good.
Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 41, Falcons 28After Davis was knocked out of the game by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Ryan was reinserted into the game and completed 2-of-4 passes for 16 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White for a touchdown. McCoy was flagged twice for roughing the passer and gave the Falcons 22 penalty yards.
WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had a career-high three sacks against Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and now has six on the season to lead the Buccaneers. McCoy’s six sacks are also a personal best for a single season, surpassing his mark of five, which occurred last year when McCoy made the Pro Bowl. … Bucs free safety Dashon Goldson forced his first fumble as a Buccaneer and strong safety Mark Barron recovered the first fumble of his career. … Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey rushed for a career-high 163 yards on 30 carries and scored a career-high three touchdowns. Rainey scored twice on the ground, which was a career high, and also had his first receiving touchdown. … Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson blocked his first punt of the year against Atlanta. … Tampa Bay wide receiver Vincent Jackson had a season-high 165 yards and one touchdown on 10 catches. … Bucs middle linebacker Mason Foster had his second pick-six of the season, returning his second interception of the year 37 yards for a touchdown. Foster’s other pick-six came against New Orleans when he returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown. … Bucs linebacker Lavonte David led the team with nine tackles, including a tackle for loss versus Atlanta. … Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn had a career-high seven tackles, including a team-leading two tackles for loss, against the Falcons. … Atlanta was held to just 14 percent (1-of-7) on third down conversions on Sunday.
WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?The following Bucs were inactive against the Falcons: CB Deveron Carr, CB Danny Gorrer, S Bradley McDougald, G Patrick Omameh, G Carl Nicks, DT Derek Landri and DE Da’Quan Bowers.
The following Falcons were inactive against the Bucs: S Kemal Ishmael, RB Jason Snelling, LB Omar Gaither, G Harland Gunn, OT Sean Locklear, WR Brian Robiskie, DT Malliciah Goodman.
WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?• Bucs left guard Jamon Meredith suffered a leg injury with 10:57 left in the second quarter. He was replaced by Ted Larsen in the lineup, but later returned.
• Tampa Bay middle linebacker Mason Foster left the game with a concussion late in the second quarter and was replaced by Adam Hayward.
• Bucs center Jeremy Zuttah was injured at the 9:26 mark in the fourth quarter and was briefly replaced by Larsen before returning.
• Tampa Bay rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks suffered a shoulder injury in the game’s final minutes and left the contest.
WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?• After the Bucs executed a surprise onside kick recovery in the second quarter, they botched a fake field goal opportunity.
• In the fourth quarter, the Bucs defense surrendered two big runs to Falcons backup running back Antone Smith, who had 88 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown.
• Bucs safety Mark Barron took a poor angle and cornerback Johnthan Banks didn’t tackle wide receiver Harry Douglas on his 80-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter.
• After getting three sacks in the first half of the game, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was flagged twice for roughing the passer in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was also penalized for a roughing the passer, and safety Dashon Goldson was flagged 15 yards for an unnecessary roughness penalty. The Bucs were penalized 11 times for 121 yards.
WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay (2-8) travels to Detroit to play the Lions (6-4) on. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET and the game will be televised locally.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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