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Falcons 20, Bucs 23: Atlanta turnover happy in loss to Tampa Bay

Turnovers and penalties everywhere.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons couldn't complete the comeback.

Down 20-3 in third quarter, Atlanta scored 17 unanswered the force overtime. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers emerged victorious with a 23-20 win, dropping the Falcons to 6-2 overall and 0-2 in the NFC South.

The Falcons finished the game with four turnovers and 11 penalties — not exactly a winning formula.

First Quarter

For the first time in a few weeks Atlanta was on offense to start the game. The Falcons' opening drive took 14 plays and covered 71 yards, but only resulted in a 21-yard Matt Bryant field goal.

Julio Jones did show awesome effort on a Kwon Alexander interception in the end zone. The turnover was negated by an offsides penalty, but Jones chased the linebacker down after a 93-yard return.

Atlanta's defense was able to get off the field even after an offsides penalty gave Tampa Bay a new set of downs.

And now it was time for the turnovers to begin.

Alexander got a bit of revenge after he was chased down earlier in the game. He stripped the ball away from Jones following a 35-yard reception and returned it 20 yards to the Atlanta 21.

The Falcons defense held strong, however, and limited the Bucs to just one yard. Connor Barth's 38-yard field goal tied the game at 3.

Noteworthy: Justin Hardy caught his first pass on the last play of the quarter. He gained 12 yards to convert a third down.

Second Quarter

Remember that turnover thing the Falcons like to do when they're in the opposing team's territory?

This time, they did it at Tampa Bay's nine-yard line. Neither Devonta Freeman nor Matt Ryan could get onto the football after Mike Person's bad snap.

Just as they did with the Falcons' first turnover, the Bucs converted into another field goal to take a 6-3 lead.

It was time for yet another Atlanta turnover.

Seven plays into the drive and on third-and-five at Tampa Bay's 44, Ryan was intercepted by Alexander on a pass intended for Jacob Tamme.

This time, the Bucs would get into the end zone. Jameis Winston connected with Cameron Brate on a 20-yard touchdown, and Tampa Bay took a 13-3 lead into the half.

Third Quarter

The Bucs went three and out to start the second half.

Atlanta drove to Tampa Bay's 20, but — stop me if you've heard this before — turned the ball over. Ryan attempted to pull the ball out from Freeman on a read option, and the loose ball was recovered by Henry Melton.

As they did all game, the Bucs turned the turnover into points. Aided by back-to-back pass interference penalties on Desmond Trufant, Tampa Bay drove 76 yards in seven plays and Winston scored on a four-yard run.

Trufant also hurt his lower back on the second penalty.

The Falcons finally responded and put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped off with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Tamme.

It was a 20-10 game heading into the final quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Bucs opted to go for it on fourth-and four at the Falcons' 38-yard line but they were turned away.

Atlanta's offense took over at Tampa Bay's 41 and put three more points on the board to make the score 20-13 with five minutes remaining in the game.

The Falcons defense stood tall once again.

Lovie Smith again opted to try to pick up a first down on fourth down, but the Bucs were turned away.

Taking over from the Bucs' 40, it was time for Matty Ice. Five plays later, Ryan found Jones for an eight-yard touchdown with :23 left.


Tampa Bay won the toss and received first in overtime.

They marched 68 yards, converting three third downs in the process, to take a 23-20 lead.

The Falcons had a chance to respond. Remember: a touchdown wins the game and a field goal ties it and make it sudden death.

The Falcons nearly turned the ball over for the fifth time — and lost the game — after defensive end Howard Jones came unblocked and forced a Ryan fumble. Freeman recovered, and the Falcons had life for a couple of more plays.

But both of Ryan's next two passes fell incomplete, and the Bucs gave the Falcons their second loss of the season.

Thoughts on the game?