The first of two games against Tampa Bay was largely expected to be a relatively easy victory for Tom Brady and company. The Bucs are still in the playoff hunt and the Falcons are staring down the void towards a potential 4-12 season and a potential top 5 pick in the NFL draft. Did the game ultimately play out that way? Read on to find out.
After winning the toss and electing to receive, the Falcons start from their 25 with a run by Gurley up the middle for no gain. After a short pass to Brandon Powell picks up 2, Matt Ryan passes to Todd Gurley for 10 yards and the first. Ito Smith runs for 5, Hayden Hurst picks up 4 on the reception and on 3rd and 1 Ryan hits Calvin Ridley for a big 20 yard gain. Ryan then hits Gage with another big gain of nearly 30 yards. He finishes the drive with a touchdown pass to Russell Gage to put Atlanta ahead early.
Falcons 7, Buccaneers 0
Brady and the Bucs start with a quick pass to Antonio Brown for 6. Cameron Brate picks up 14 for the first, Brady throws one away and Keanu Neal blows up Leonard Fournette for an 8 yard loss. On 3rd and 18, Brady tosses to LeSean McCoy for the screen but 14 yards isn’t enough. Tampa punts.
From their 10, Brian Hill starts the drive with a run for 1. Powell picks up 2 on the reception and on 3rd down Matt Ryan scrambles to get the first and more. Ryan connects with Luke Stocker for a big 25 yard gain. After an incomplete pass to Stocker and Brian Hill loses 4 on the run, on 3rd and 14 Ryan completes the short pass to Gurley but it’s well short. Atlanta punts.
Starting on their 12, Fournette runs for 1 and Brate picks up 8 on the 2nd down pass. Fournette takes the pitch for the short gain and the first. Neal stops Fournette for a 1 yard gain, Isaiah Oliver makes a nice play to stop the 2nd down pass for just 2 and on 3rd and 7, Tom Brady throws incomplete towards Brown. Buccaneers punt again.
The Falcons start from their 26 with Ryan throwing a dangerous pass that falls incomplete.
Falcons 7, Buccaneers 0
The quarter starts with Ryan’s pass being tipped again on 2nd and 10. Ryan can’t connect with Ridley on 3rd down and Atlanta has to punt.
The Bucs start from their 27 with Brady throwing it away after pressure by Steven Means. Mike Evans picks up 7 on the quick pass and on 3rd down, Deion Jones sacks Brady to force another 3 and out.
Ryan hits Brian Hill on 1st down for 6 and Hill carries it for 3 on 2nd down. Ito runs for 3 and the first. Ryan’s pass is tipped on 1st down, Hill runs for no gain on 2nd down and the pass to Keith Smith picks up 8. On 4th and 2 the Falcons go for it and convert on the pass to Gage. Ryan passes to Keith Smith for 12 yards and a first and Laquon Treadwell picks up 13 and another first. Ryan then hits Ridley for the touchdown and the two score lead.
Falcons 14, Buccaneers 0
After the touchback, Brady’s pass to Ke’Shawn Vaughn is dropped. Godwin picks up 11 for the first. Vaughn runs for 3 and Rob Gronkowski picks up 7 and the first on the pass. Brady can’t connect with Godwin, then hits Evans for 10 and the first. Brady is pressured and throws it away, Vaughn runs for a short gain and on 3rd down Sherrod Neasman sacks Brady on the blitz. Tampa punts again
From their own 10, Ryan passes to Ridley for 2, Ito runs for 3 and they pick up the first on the quick pass to Ridley and the 2 minute warning. Ryan hits Ridley again for 13 more. Ryan to Ridley yet again picks up 16 and another first. Ryan’s next pass is tipped and falls incomplete, the 2nd down pass to Ito gains 5 and on 3rd and 5, Russell Gage takes the pass for 25 and the first. Ryan connects with Hurst for 11 and the subsequent pass to Christian Blake loses a yard. Ryan throws it away on 2nd down and Tampa stops Atlanta on 3rd down. Younghoe Koo comes on and nails the 32 yard field goal.
The Bucs take the knee after a kickoff return to send us to halftime.
Falcons 17, Buccaneers 0
The Bucs start on their 20 after the return with a Brady pass to Antonio Brown for a gain of 20. After missing Mike Evans on 1st down he hits Brate for 14. Fournette runs for 9 and again for 4 and the first down. Brady hits Evans for 32 yards to setup 1st and goal from the 1. Fournette carries it in to finish off the drive with the touchdown.
Falcons 17, Buccaneers 7
Atlanta’s first drive of the 2nd half starts from the 25 with a pass to Ridley for 13. Ito runs for 2 and Ryan hits Ridley yet again for 28 and another first. Ito picks up 7 on the ground and picks up the first on the shovel pass. Ryan hits Gage for a gain of 12 and finishes the drive with a touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 7
Tampa Bay starts with an incomplete pass intended for Gronk. They connect on 2nd down for 5 and the next pass to Evans picks up 26 and the 1st. Fournette gains 15 on the pass and he runs it for no gain on the next play. Brady hits Evans for another big gain to setup 1st and goal on the 4. Brady finishes the drive with a TD pass to Chris Godwin.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 14
Ryan opens the next drive with a pass to Brian Hill to the 29 for 4 yards. Ridley can’t pull in the pass over the middle and on 3rd and 6, Ryan’s pass falls incomplete. Atlanta goes 3 and out and are forced to punt.
Brady’s first pass falls incomplete but his next pass to Gronk goes for 13 and the first. Brady overthrows Tyler Johnson, but Scotty Miller picks up 13 on the next pass. The next play is a double defensive penalty with defensive pass interference and a facemask which nets the Bucs 28 yards. The pass to Fournette gains 8 and the pass to Brown sets up 1st and goal just outside the 1. After a pass interference, Fournette runs the ball in for the touchdown.
The last play of the quarter is a run by Brian Hill for a 3 yard loss.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 21
On 2nd and 12, Ryan can’t connect with Gage to setup 3rd and long. Yet again, the Falcons can’t convert the third down and they have to punt.
After a botched punt penalty and a re-punt, Brady’s first pass is incomplete. The pass to McCoy picks up 4 and Brady completes the pass to Evans for the first. Godwin picks up 9, Brown picks up 15 and the first. An incomplete pass to Gronk, a quick pass to Miller for 4 sets up 3rd and 6 inside the Falcons 10. Brady can’t hit Gronk in the end zone and the Bucs decide to take the easy field goal to tie the game.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 24
Ryan’s first pass goes to Keith Smith for 10 and the first. Ryan connects with Ridley yet again for 33 yards and another first. Ito Smith runs for 5 and on 2nd down Ridley can’t pull in the catch in the end zone. Matt Ryan is then sacked on third down after Gurley misses the blitz pickup. Of. Course. Younghoe Koo comes in and nails the 52 yard field goal to retake the lead.
Falcons 27, Buccaneers 24
From their 22, the Bucs drive starts with a pass to Cameron Brate for 18. Fournette runs for a minimal gain, Brady quick throws to Godwin for the first and the drive ends with a touchdown throw to Antonio Brown. Tampa takes their first lead of the game.
Falcons 27, Buccaneers 31
Under heavy pressure, Ryan throws to Hurst for a 2 yard loss, Gage can’t pull in the deep pass. On 3rd down, Ryan is ... sacked. Of course. Atlanta punts.
Fournette starts the drive with a run for 15. Another run for 2 is followed by a sack by Grady Jarrett for a loss of 8 yards. On 3rd and 16, LeSean McCoy picks up 13 on the pass. Tampa chooses to punt with a little under 3 minutes left in the game.
With 2:44 left on the clock, the Falcons offense starts with an incomplete pass. Matt is then sacked on 2nd down. On 3rd and 16, Ryan has to throw it away. On 4th and 16, Ryan hits Ridley for 13 yards but they can’t convert. Buccaneers ball.
Tampa runs the ball repeatedly to burn down the clock and close out the game.
Final: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 31