The Bucs swept the Falcons for a second year in a row thanks to a 30-17 win in Atlanta on Sunday. Quarterback Tom Brady remained a perfect 10-0 against the Falcons in his 22-year career, throwing for 368 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
Chris Godwin set a franchise record with 15 catches for 143 yards, while Mike Evans had 99 yards on seven catches. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had a pair of touchdowns against Atlanta in Week 2, scored twice again on Sunday. The Bucs, who improved to 9-3 on the season, saw their defense record five sacks with two apiece from defensive tackles Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh.
Here is a list of the most impressive Bucs in Tampa Bay’s third win in a row.
QB Tom Brady
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Bucs QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: USA Today
Brady started the game red hot, completing 11-of-13 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead on the opening drive of the game. Brady found Fournette for a 3-yard touchdown to cap off that scoring drive. On the next drive Brady hit Chris Godwin with a 25-yard gain and Mike Evans for 36 yards before throwing his second touchdown of the day – a 3-yard toss to Cameron Brate. Brady found Rob Gronkowski with a 27-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 20-10 right before halftime.
Brady’s only real bad play of the game came with just seconds left in the second quarter. Falcons defensive lineman Marlon Davidson intercepted a screen pass attempt to Leonard Fournette, and scored on the play to draw the score to 20-17 at halftime. Brady kept slinging the ball in the second half and topped the 300-yard mark, adding another touchdown pass to Gronk in the third quarter. Brady finished the game completing 38-of-51 passes for 368 yards with four touchdowns and one pick.
WR Chris Godwin
Godwin had five catches for 33 yards on the Bucs’ first drive of the game. That was the start to a fantastic day for the Bucs’ franchise player. Godwin finished with a career-high 15 catches for 143 yards (9.5 avg.). That also set a Bucs franchise record for most catches in a game. Godwin’s role was mostly that of a chain-mover on Sunday in Atlanta, but he did have an impressive 36-yard catch-and-run across the middle. That was tied for the longest pass play of the game. Godwin saw his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown against Atlanta snapped at six, as he didn’t score a TD on Sunday. However, he did increase his season production to 82 catches for 949 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Bucs.
Bucs Offensive Line
The offensive line deserves a ton of credit for the team’s success on Sunday. Brady was hardly touched against Atlanta and wasn’t sacked at all. The Bucs put up 30 points and produced 425 yards against the Falcons, including 368 yards through the air with Brady dropping back to throw 51 times. That’s the sixth time this season that Tampa Bay’s offensive line hasn’t surrendered a sack. And it’s the third time in the last four games that Brady hasn’t been sacked either.
TE Rob Gronkowski
It wasn’t another 100-yard performance like he had a week ago in Indianapolis. But it was another two-touchdown effort like he had against the Falcons in Week 2. Gronkowski finished with four catches for 58 yards and two TDs, including a 27-yard second quarter score. His leaping, 11-yard score on a fade in the end zone over Falcons safety Erik Harris was pretty amazing. Despite missing five games this season, Gronkowski already has six TDs this year after catching seven in 16 games last year.
RB Leonard Fournette
Bucs RB Leonard Fournette – Photo by: USA Today
Fournette caught all four of his targets on Tampa Bay’s opening drive for 24 yards and a touchdown to open the scoring for the Bucs. It wasn’t the day he had last week in Indianapolis, but Fournette was a solid, steady producer. Fournette rushed for 44 yards on 13 carries and caught seven of eight passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, which was his second of the year. His two receiving TDs in a single season is a new career high for Fournette. He now has nine total TDs on the year – seven rushing scores and two through the air.
DT Ndamukong Suh
Suh recorded a sack on third-and-4 to force an Atlanta punt on the game’s second series. The former All-Pro has now recorded back-to-back sacks in consecutive weeks. Suh recorded his second sack of the game on a third-and-7 situation in the third quarter, when he beat left guard Jalen Mayfield to get to Matt Ryan. He now has six sacks on the season, which matches last year’s mark. Suh ranks second on the team behind Shaquil Barrett’s 7.5 sacks.
NT Vita Vea
Vea recorded his first full sack of the season in the first quarter when he beat rookie guard Jalen Mayfield on a twist. The 345-pound nose tackle had half-sacks in games against Miami and Philadelphia. Vea had his second sack of the game beating Mayfield again to get to Matt Ryan. His two-sack day was a new career-high for Vea.
CB Pierre Desir
Desir filled in for Jamel Dean, who re-aggravated his shoulder injury in the third quarter. He made his presence felt immediately on his first play of the game, knocking the ball loose from receiver Russell Gage. Cornerback Carlton Davis III recovered for Tampa Bay to stop the Atlanta drive. Desir finished the game with five tackles in less than a half’s worth of action.
OLB Cam Gill
Gill recorded the first full sack of his career when he dropped Ryan for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter. On the previous play, Gill had a nice tackle of Cordarrelle Patterson on a 5-yard gain. He now has 1.5 sacks on the season, and finished with two tackles on the day.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 spent six years 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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