Who’s up and who’s down in the win?
The Bucs’ woeful pass defense presented an inviting matchup for Jones, and he delivered in a huge way. Jones caught 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and also added 15 yards on an end around. It was the third time Jones put together a 250-yard performance — an ridiculously impressive feat considering no other receiver in NFL history has more than one such game. Oh, and he also set a couple of new NFL records. Jones was uncoverable and the Bucs had no answer all game.
It was another nice outing for the 2016 league MVP. Ryan completed 26 of 35 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown — good for a 111.3 passer rating. It was the third consecutive game in which he’s finished with a passer rating over 100, and the sixth such time he’s done so this season. He delivered strikes all game, and it didn’t help that he was well-protected by his offensive line.
Several players could’ve received the nod here, but Sanu makes the list for the 51-yard dime of a touchdown pass he delivered to Jones in the second quarter. Sanu also added eight receptions for 64 yards, including a 25-yard catch in which he bowled over Bucs safety T.J. Ward.
Neal actually had a solid game, including breaking up a fourth-down pass intended for Cameron Brate in the final quarter that would’ve set the Bucs up nicely to tie the game at 27. Atlanta’s enforcer makes the list because he delivered an unintentional helmet-to-helmet blow to Desmond Trufant, forcing the cornerback to exit the game with a concussion. Yikes.
After racking up 11 sacks in the previous two games, the Falcons’ pass rush was stymied for most of the afternoon. Takk McKinley was able to get to Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter, but the Bucs quarterback was by and large able to operate from a spotless pocket. Atlanta’s inability to generate pressure was magnified by the injuries in the secondary. A decent quarterback would’ve carved the Falcons defense up.
Against the Seattle Seahawks last week, Goodwin was flagged for a tripping call. Keeping the penalty streak alive for a second week, Goodwin was called for pass interference after Desean Jackson got away from him. Simply put: unless he makes massive strides quickly, the Falcons can’t afford for him to see extended play time.