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3 Falcons up, 3 Falcons down in Week 9 win over Bucs

Another week, another spectacular offensive showing.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons ended a three-game losing skid to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night with a 43-28 drubbing that wasn’t nearly as close as the score suggests.

It was the third time this season the team has put up at least 43 points.

Who’s up and who’s down?


Matt Ryan

It was another stellar performance for the Falcons quarterback as he threw for 343 yards and four touchdown passes on 25 of 34 passes. On the season, he’s thrown for 2,980 yards, 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Frankly put: Ryan’s unstoppable right now.

Grady Jarrett

Atlanta’s decision to start Jarrett in his second season is paying off. The Clemson product has been a force all year, and last night he stuffed the stat sheet with a couple of sacks. It’s insane the Falcons drafted him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Taylor Gabriel

Gabriel has effectively made his case for more touches in this offense. He caught five passes for 52 yards and was used on an end around twice for 24 yards, scoring on one from nine yards out. The 5’8’’, 165-pound wide receiver has ridiculous speed. More importantly, he has Ryan’s trust.


Desmond Trufant

Mike Evans gave Trufant fits right out of the gate, catching three passes for 31 yards and a three-yard touchdown on the Bucs’ first drive. To make matters worse, Trufant left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. He’s easily one of the league’s best cornerbacks, but the 6’5’’ receiver gave him a bit of trouble.

Robert Alford

Once Trufant left the game, Evans took it to the smaller Alford. The Bucs receiver easily caught a high 24-yard touchdown pass over the 5’10’’ cornerback and used his size at every opportunity. Oh, and stop me if you’ve heard this before: Alford drew a flag for pass interference in this game.

Justin Hardy

Hardy figured to be the starting third receiver this season, but he’s been buried on the depth chart with Gabriel and Aldrick Robinson getting more opportunities. There’s always next year.

Who’s your three up, three down?