It was looking as though Tampa Bay was well on their way to a miserable afternoon as they made their way into the locker room trailing 17-0 at halftime against a surging divisional opponent in the Atlanta Falcons. But the Bucs battled back throughout the second half, mounting a massive comeback en route to a 31-27 victory in Week 15.

Atlanta took an early 7-0 lead on the game’s first drive, ending an eight-play, 75-yard drive with a touchdown pass to Russell Gage. The Falcons would then build on that lead with a touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley in the second quarter and a field goal from Younghoe Koo with seconds left in the half. For Tampa Bay, their offense seemingly couldn’t string anything together as they totaled just five first downs and 60 total yards of offense through two quarters. But once the third quarter began, the Bucs found their stride as they would come roaring back with four touchdowns and a field goal on their first five drives of the second half. Tampa Bay eventually tied the game at 24-24 on a field goal from Ryan Succop with 11:15 remaining in the fourth quarter before Atlanta answered back with three points of their own, re-taking the lead. And facing first-and-10 from the Atlanta 46-yard line on the Bucs’ ensuing drive, Tom Brady found a streaking Antonio Brown down the left sideline for a deep touchdown pass. The score was Brown’s first trip to the end zone as a Buc and it ultimately gave the Tampa Bay a 31-27 lead with 6:15 remaining, their first lead of the game and one that they wouldn’t surrender. With one final attempt to salvage a victory, Matt Ryan was sacked for the third time of the day on second-and-10 at the Atlanta 12-yard line , forcing Atlanta into a long third down deep within their own territory and would ultimately turn the ball over on downs two plays later, allowing Tampa Bay to take over, run the clock out and secure their ninth win of the season.

At 9-5 the Bucs extend their lead over the 7-6 Arizona Cardinals in the NFC playoff picture and creep that much closer to a guaranteed spot in the playoffs, something that could only come in Week 15 with a win and a tie between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.

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About the Author: Taylor Jenkins

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Horse
7 months ago

Besides the win being very positive; the fact we were down by 17 in the first half, and then scored 31 points in the second half,says how good this team could be if they were clicking on all cylinders. Go Bucs!

PatrioticChief
7 months ago

That is why you signed Tom.

Is there any lead that a combination of the Brady effect and the Falcon effect couldn’t combine to overcome?

geno711
Reply to  PatrioticChief
7 months ago

The Falcons are a pretty solid team for 3 quarters. They were either ahead or within one score of the lead in the 4th quarter of 12 of the 14 games. This was another example of how horrible they can be at the end of games. Falcons decent team for 3 quarters. Absolute dog shit in the 4th quarter. Thank goodness we hung in there. I gotta think that last years quarterback would have tried too much too early on and would have thrown a pick or two. Brady with a Buc single game record today. Most yards thrown by… Read more »

Eddie
Reply to  PatrioticChief
7 months ago

Great win, but guys don;t forget this is Atlanta Falcon, the team that has been giving up huge lead. I still remember the Super bowl game between Falcon and NE with Brady at the helm where Falcon lost in the final seconds. After a lead so huge that the owner even came down to the sideline in anticipation of getting the Lombardi Trophy.

Buc76
7 months ago

Better get it together quick. Not going to comeback down 17 on playoff teams.

Pete Wood
Reply to  Buc76
7 months ago

Dude, seriously? That’s where your mind is going right now after a thrilling comeback?

PatrioticChief
Reply to  Pete Wood
7 months ago

I mean I respect it his point. And while I blame Arians for a lot of the problems I respect him thinking about it too. Great comeback but this is a team that supposedly has playoff aspirations and they’ve just been mud in the first half for weeks now.

BleedOrange78
7 months ago

I appreciate the win and glad as hell for it. BUT…WTF was that in the first half?!?!?! Seriously, WTF was that in the first half?!?!?

Bucco-Bruce
7 months ago

I’m grateful for the comeback and the win but we will not survive against a playoff team if we only play great for just half a game!!

BleedOrange78
7 months ago

I appreciate the win. Glad as hell for it. BUT…WTF was going on in the first half?!? Seriously, WTF was that?!?! Why does this keep happening?!?!

Virtual_Camel
Reply to  BleedOrange78
7 months ago

Soft defense in the first half giving way too much cushion just like they’ve been doing for far too long. Who know’s about the offense. Bad play calling, bad coaching, bad execution by everybody.

RW
RW
Reply to  BleedOrange78
7 months ago

Defense was soft and offense couldn’t handle the pressure. In the 2nd half defense started blitzing and got to Ryan. Brady started making a bunch of quick throws to counter the pressure and even started correcting the line calls to handle the blitzes.

juju1242
7 months ago

One thing I will say… Bucs teams in the past don’t win this game. Just stop making these so difficult.

Dave
7 months ago

Just another day at the office for the goat. 69% completion percentage. 390 yards, 2 TD’s vs 0 TO’s(even when forced to throw on every player because they were down 24-7). 8.7 YPA, and a 110 QB Rating. He’s been bailing this shitbag defense out for the entire second half of the season. I said yesterday, if CD3 was left on an island to shut down Ridley, we could be in trouble. And 10 rec for 163 yds and a TD on 14 targets later….Bowles continues to set this defense back. CD3 isn’t good enough to be left on an… Read more »

geno711
Reply to  Dave
7 months ago

Brady Gaga

Dman
7 months ago

Love the win. Not playoff ready. TB is the slow start, missing open guys. Doesn’t hit his stride until second half. And no running game, which I put squarely on BA cuz I think we have the talent. And those stupid horizontal throws for two yards are a complete waste. One out of five hits. On D Bowles needs to let his guys play man to start the game and Shaq and JPP better start showing up or they can kiss those big contracts goodbye.

danielob
7 months ago

The bigger picture seems to be that we are out game planned and out coached in the first half of games, thank goodness we seem to make adjustments at the half, but that is not winning football against play-off teams. PS- Sean Murphy Bunting is our achilles heel in the secondary, thank God for Winslow JR, if he doesn’t make that superb pass break-up in the end zone we might not have won that game. Rookie of the year but won’t get it.

thewbacca
Reply to  danielob
7 months ago

Winfield Jr had has hand on the ball. Winslow Jr had his hand on something else in a Target parking lot.

scubog
Reply to  thewbacca
7 months ago

Hysterical! Didn’t Winslow Jr. have some Meemaw fetish?

seat26
7 months ago

If we could put together an entire game, this would be a good team. Missed Rojo. Evans looked great. Luckily Brady only needs 2 quarters to win it. Ryan was looking really good in first half. Ridley is crazy good. But it’s time to celebrate. Bucs are a winning team for the first time in 4 yrs. I’ll take that.

cgmaster27
7 months ago

This teams slow starts are maddening. I have no idea why they cant get it together early. Brady was sensational sgter halftime. That right there is what this offense can be. And that’s with our best RB and LT out. Fournette still didnt impress today but got into the endzone twice. He just doesn’t run with power at all for his size. Good to see AB get one in today, hes been getting better and he was used better today. A lot of screen run today which was alsp nice. Chris godwin cant be stopped on those quick hitters. Defense… Read more »

PatrioticChief
Reply to  cgmaster27
7 months ago

White is a badass going forward and he’s a massive weakness going backwards.

pinkstob
7 months ago

Don’t get me wrong the Bucs won that game fair and square, but this is one of those games where you say “It’s a good thing the Falcons stink and are choke artists”. We didn’t look good overall, particularly Brady. I’m glad the Bucs got out of that zone towards the end of the game, they were getting killed in it. I would say something like the Bucs have to find a way to start faster on offense, but this last in the season you are who you are.

PatrioticChief
Reply to  pinkstob
7 months ago

Definitely had a Chargers vibe too it. Bucs have enough offensive talent to overcome big deficits to bad teams, but as Arians aptly pointed out, that simply won’t cut it against good teams.

BucHarbour
7 months ago

Not sure why the offense keeps starting so slow. Probably need better game planning up front, and the Brady needs to check the OL’s protection call outs like he did in the second half. The defense is all on Bowles. He needs to stop playing soft zone coverage against good QB’s, as they’ll just keep taking the 10-15 underneath that you’re giving up. They need to stick with man most of the time, and go to a tighter zone, when they change it up. Safeties can’t keep starting 10-15 yards past the line and bailing deep every time. Need to… Read more »

Eddie
Reply to  BucHarbour
7 months ago

Scary thing is the head coach is asking the same question as we are in his press conference after the game. “why can;t we play for the whole 4 quarters”…

BucHarbour
Reply to  Eddie
7 months ago

Yeah, that seems more on the coaching staff than the players. They need to figure out why it takes them until halftime to make the adjustments and get too after the first drive by both teams. Bowles needs to stop coming out of the gate with soft zone. Defenses are either applying pressure or they’re getting pressured. Come out of the gate swinging and adjust if they’re beating you.