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Revisiting the top Falcons-Bucs Week 9 matchups

The Falcons are still atop the NFC South.

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

The Atlanta Falcons avenged their Week 1 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a dominant 43-28 win on Thursday Night Football.

Let’s revisit the top matchups for the Week 9 game.

Jameis Winston versus the Falcons secondary

The Falcons had trouble stopping the Winston to Mike Evans connection. The Tampa Bay quarterback threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns on 23 of 37 passing, while Evans finished with 10 catches for 150 yards and a pair of scores. In Week 1, Winston tossed four scores and passed for 281 yards.

Bucs running backs versus Falcons defensive line

The Bucs have been decimated by injuries at the running back position with Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers both ailing. Insert undrafted rookie Peyton Barber and ex-Falcon Antone Smith. Barber was held to 31 yards on 11 carries and Smith picked up 25 yards on five attempts before a knee injury forced him out of the game — and the season. Atlanta held Tampa Bay to 73 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

Matt Ryan and company versus Kwon Alexander

Alexander wasn’t nearly as effective Thursday as he has been against the Falcons. Part of the reason is because he left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. The linebacker didn’t start the second half although his return to the game was probable. He finished the game with six tackles — a huge departure from the 17 he piled up against the Falcons in the Bucs’ Week 1 win.

Ryan threw for 344 yards and four touchdowns on 25 of 34 passing. Devonta Freeman racked up 77 yards on the ground and Terron Ward pitched in with 30. The Falcons’ sole rushing score came from wide receiver Taylor Gabriel on a nine-yard end around.