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Buccaneers 30, Falcons 17: Falcons fall to 5-7 with loss to Tampa Bay

I’m not surprised, and yet I’m still disappointed.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers were heavily favored in this one, unsurprisingly, and the outcome is pretty much expected. We saw some good things from the team today, but overall, it was a combination of poor offensive line play, some weird play calling, and some dumb, sloppy mistakes that sealed the loss for the Falcons.

The Falcons fall to 5-7, and the Buccaneers improve to 9-3.

1st quarter:

It’s an easy Tom Brady first-down toss to Leonard Fournette on the first play from scrimmage. Brady tosses an incompletion on first down, with Chris Godwin the intended target. Foye Oluokun stops Godwin way short on second down, leaving Bucs with third and five. Still an easy conversion on third to Godwin against Falcons’ soft zone. Oluokun gets another stop, second and 10. Brady passes to the middle of the field with no receiver in sight, and it falls incomplete and gives the Bucs a third and 10. Brady hits Godwin again and AJ Terrell stops him short, forcing a fourth and 4. The Bucs go for it, and of course they convert, because Falcons fandom is just an endless cycle of pain and disappointment. Eat Arby’s.

First down throw to Mike Evans for a gain of three, and it’s a second and 7 for Tampa Bay. Brady fires a bullet to Mike Evans again for a first down. Godwin snags his fourth catch of this drive/the day, giving the Bucs a second and 4 in the red zone. Godwin hauls in another one, and is down at the 4, then the Bucs get a first down again. I already hate this game.

Fournette pulls in a pretty catch in the end zone for an easy touchdown, and Succop knocks in the PAT. The FOX broadcast starts playing the Atlanta national anthem, ‘Knuck if you Buck’, heading into the commercial break, adding insult to injury. The Falcons were most certainly not buck on the Bucs’ first 13-play, 75-yard drive.

Buccaneers 7, Falcons 0

First down to Olamide Zaccheaus right out of the gate. Maybe the good Falcons offense will show up today? CP catches it out of the backfield and rumbles for a six-yard gain. Cordarrelle Patterson is an absolute delight and I think the Falcons should give him as much money as he wants to stay here forever. Another toss out of the backfield for a first down and the type of big gain we’ve been so fortunate to see from CP this season, then Mike Davis barrels into the end zone for a Falcons touchdown. Koo, as usual, is automatic on the PAT. Quick drive, great execution, and the Falcons tie this one up with their first opening drive touchdown of the season with 6:37 left in the first quarter.

Buccaneers 7, Falcons 7

The Bucs attempt their first run play of the day and the Falcons D holds them to three yards. But Brady follows that up with a long first-down throw to Chris Godwin. There’s another deep throw to Mike Evans for a 36-yard gain, putting the Bucs in the red zone. Brady overthrows Gronk in the end zone, and it’s second and 6. But the refs called defensive holding against the Falcons, giving the Bucs a fresh set of downs and making it first and goal, because we just can’t have nice things. Cameron Brate runs the same route Brady just missed Gronk on, and this one’s complete, and the Bucs snatch the lead back. The PAT by Succop doinks off the upright and didn’t make it through, which is a real lucky break for the Falcons. We’ll take what we can get.

Buccaneers 13, Falcons 7

Ryan hits Pitts for a first down. CP carries it on first down, getting six on the ground, putting the Falcons on the 43-yard line. Incomplete to Tajae Sharpe on first down. On third and four, Matt Ryan can’t find an open receiver, protection breaks down, and the Bucs D takes advantage of it with a sack, bringing up fourth and 9. Olamide Zaccheaus takes down the Bucs’ returner and pins the Bucs on their own 19-yard line, at least giving the Falcons defense a lot of room to hopefully get a stop on this series.

Falcons defense does hold the Bucs to a third and 8, and an incomplete pass intended for Gronk brings up fourth and 8. Look at the Falcons defense! I was afraid Williams was going to fumble that return because he was carrying it like a dang lunchbox, but thankfully no, and the Falcons take over on their own 25. Cordarrelle with a gain of five on first down, :18 left in the first quarter.

2nd quarter

Incomplete to Pitts on second down, ball was tipped. Third and 5, Jake Matthews flagged for a false start in the Falcons’ own damn stadium. Ryan scrambles on third and 10, extending the play until he sees Gage open for a first down. Mike Davis on first down for a gain of 1. Incomplete to Patterson on second, bringing up third and 9. Circus catch from Pitts, tiptoeing down the sideline, and even though he stepped out, it was a fantastic play. Ryan put that ball high enough where Pitts was the only one with a real chance of snagging it.

Another throw to Pitts on first, and Pitts hauls it in for a gain of 7. Handoff to Cordarrelle on second and 3, Cordarrelle barrels for a first. Ryan drops back and nobody gets open, and the Bucs pass rush gets home again. Second and 10. Mike Davis is playing well today. He runs for a gain of 11, and now we get to see what the Falcons do in the red zone.

A quick release from Ryan on third down, and he hits Russell Gage for a fresh set of downs on the Bucs’ 1-yard line. First down, Ryan throws it out of the back of the end zone, bringing up second and goal, but a roughing the passer call gives the Falcons yet another first down and brings them half the distance closer to the goal line.

If they only get a field goal on this drive I’m going to be sick.

Incompletion on first and goal as Ryan tries to hit Tajae Sharpe on the run. Second and goal, Ryan takes a sack. Third and goal, Dean was all over Cordarrelle Patterson and definitely interfered with him, but no flag, so the Falcons attempt a Younghoe Koo field goal. Sigh. Koo nails it, as usual, and the Falcons pull within three.

Buccaneers 13, Falcons 10

8:39 left in the half. Thomas Morstead boots it out of the end zone, so Bucs take over on their own 25.

On third down, Brady gets an easy first down to Mike Evans despite good coverage from Fabian Moreau. First and 10, quick release to Godwin for a gain of six. Second down, it’s a carry for three, but a holding call walks them back 10 yards and gives the Falcons a replay of the second down. Second and 14, and Brady hits Godwin for a gain of 17 and the first down. I am already so tired of this game.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but there’s another easy first down to Fournette for a gain of 12, and the Bucs offense is just chewing up yards here. Brady hands off to Fournette for a gain of six. For crying out loud. On second and 4, Fournette’s in the backfield with Brady. The Falcons almost get some pressure on Brady and his pass goes incomplete. The Bucs are holding A LOT. Third and 4, Falcons come blitzing off the edge and almost get home, but Brady hits Gronk across the middle for a touchdown. Jaylinn Hawkins is such a mismatch against Gronk. That matchup is basically Loki against the Hulk in The Avengers. Hawkins is Loki in this equation, in case that wasn’t clear.

Buccaneers 20, Falcons 10

Ryan takes a sack from Vita Vea, who is a big dude I would never want sacking me. I don’t know how Ryan is even still ambulatory after the three sacks he’s taken today. Third and 14, Ryan can’t find an open receiver, but actually evades pressure and scrambles for a short gain. Carlton Davis is mercifully called for holding, and the Falcons get five yards and a first down.

First and 10, the second botched snap of the day means the play goes nowhere. What is the deal with this center rotation because I do not like it at all. On second down, a completion to Gage brings up third and 2. Falcons wait it out and catch their breath while the clock ticks toward the two-minute warning.

Ollison with the carry on first, gain of 4. Toss to Gage for a first down. Ryan is managing the clock really well on this drive. Incomplete to Zaccheaus on first down, bringing up second and 10. Ryan, under pressure on a delayed blitz, manages to get rid of the football with a short completion to Davis, but it’s short, and it’s fourth and 8.

Delay of game on the Falcons, because why wouldn’t this game irritate the hell out of me at every turn? And Morstead is out to punt. The Bucs will take over again.

BUT A PICK SIX! THE FALCONS DEFENSE SAVES THE DAY! MARLON DAVIDSON, YOU BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL MAN! HELL YES!!!!! BIG MAN TOUCHDOWN!!!!

Falcons 17, Buccaneers 20

My husband just accidentally unplugged our cable box so if anything cool happened on the ensuing kickoff, I missed it. Brady takes a knee and sends this one to the half.

HALFTIME

We’ve seen some characteristically sloppy and silly moments from this team so far, Matt Ryan is still under way too much consistent pressure, and I hope to never have to see Jaylinn Hawkins trying to cover Rob Gronkowski again. But the Bucs were favored by two scores in this one, and especially considering the lack of success the Falcons have had at home this season, we’re off to about as good of a start here as we could have hoped for.

3rd quarter

I was busy eating lunch because the last thing I need is to be hangry during this second half, so we rejoin the Falcons in progress, where Jake Matthews just got called for another false start in his own damn stadium. The Bucs’ Jamel Dean stops the action as he appears to be hurt, and the Falcons are facing a second and 15 from their own 33. Ryan with a short completion to Keith Smith, gain of 2. On third down, Matt Ryan hits Gage for a first down and Pierre Desir knocks the ball out forcing a fumble. Tampa Bay recovers. Life is pain and our suffering is infinite.

Deion Jones breaks up a Brady pass intended for Gronk. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d jumped up doing the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag. It was a hell of a breakup. The Bucs punt on fourth and 4 and fail to do anything with the turnover, which is a delightful change of pace.

Patterson rumbles for another first down, and the Falcons are rolling. I hope. Ryan hits Gage over the middle, and the Falcons just need one more yard for another first. Olamide Zaccheaus takes the handoff from Ryan and cuts around the edge to get the first. Ryan hits Sharpe on first down for a gain of four. Russell Gage pulls one in and with not one spin move, but two, manages to keep it in bounds for a big gain and a first. Carlton Davis III was dinged up on the play. Ollison carries it for three yards, and it’s second and 7 for Atlanta. Matt Ryan targets Kyle Pitts, and it’s broken up by Davis, who is apparently OK. On third and 7, Ryan takes his fourth sack for a huge loss. Ndamukong Suh is still just a dominant player and thanks, I hate everything about it.

And now Richie Grant is hurt, down on the field and grabbing at his left leg. Darren Hall comes in for Grant, and it’s second and 9 for the Bucs. Brady is way too comfortable in the pocket. A Leonard Fournette run on third and 2 gets the Bucs the first. Again. Two missed tackles by the Falcons later, Fournette has another first and the Bucs are on the 50. Falcons actually tackle on first down, but it’s still a five-yard gain for Tampa Bay. Giovanni Bernard gets the next first down, and the Bucs are just chewing through yards again. On second and 7, Bernard is the intended receiver but Brady’s pass goes incomplete, and it’s third and 7. It’s a fingertip catch by Mike Evans for a first down, and the Bucs are still driving on the Falcons’ 18-yard line.

Godwin is hurt on first down, and he’s down on the field being attended to by the Bucs’ medical staff. Play resumes, and it’s second and 9 for the Bucs. Brady hits Johnson over the middle for a gain of five, and Godwin returns to the game. Brady hits Gronk for his second touchdown of the day. I really wish these two yahoos would retire already. PAT is good, and the Falcons trail at home by 10.

Buccaneers 27, Falcons 17

There are 29 seconds left to play in the third quarter, and the Falcons will take over on their own 25. The Falcons announced that Richie Grant is questionable to return with an ankle injury. Adetokunbo Ogundeji also appears to be hurt.

4th quarter

Third and 4, and Ryan takes his fifth sack of the day. Vita Vea does his best fish impression to celebrate. Anyway, this sucks! Now it’s fourth and 13 and Morstead’s back on to punt.

The Falcons actually stop the Bucs after a 1-yard gain on first down, leaving them with second and 9. But second down is an easy completion to Gronkowski over the middle again. He is absolutely eating this defense alive. Brady’s third down pass bounces into and immediately out of Deion Jones’s hands. Sigh.

So it’s third and 4, and Brady’s pass goes incomplete. It’s punt time, baby. Maybe the Falcons will do something cool on this drive, like not let Matt Ryan get beat to hell and actually give him time to throw the ball. We’ll see!

Illegal touching on the Bucs, and the Falcons take over. Mike Davis pulls in a catch and rumbles down the sideline, somehow staying in bounds for decent gains on two downs in a row. An offensive hold on Lee Smith brings the second-down play back, though. If the Falcons want to actually move the ball, these plays need to develop more quickly.

Cordarrelle Patterson is the target on the next play and he finds a hole in the middle and makes the most of it, but it’s still third and 14. Ryan hits Gage for a first down at midfield, an 18-yard play. Cordarrelle takes the toss out of the backfield, dribbles it once, thankfully doesn’t lose it, and it’s second and 2. That put Cordarrelle over 1,000 yards this season. You love to see it.

It’s CP on second down for no gain. Third and 2, and it’s another damn sack. The SIXTH sack of the day on Matt Ryan. We’re lucky this man hasn’t stormed out of the stadium yet. It initially looked like it might be a fumble, but there was forward motion, and it’s an incomplete pass. Waiting to see if it’s intentional grounding, and there wasn’t a receiver in the area, so it probably will be. Yep, it’s intentional grounding. Great! Things are going really well here. Just fantastic. Morstead is back on to punt. Again.

There’s 7:25 left in the game, and I have to feel like a Bucs score here would seal it. Hopefully the defense will hold. But the Bucs once again start chewing up yards and moving the ball consistently, including a 36-yard bomb to Chris Godwin, who is absolutely having himself a day with 12 catches for 99 yards so far.

“This is good football,” the announcer says. It is? Good football for whom? Not for the Falcons.

The Bucs use their first timeout with 4:25 remaining in the contest, and immediately after, Brady hits Godwin for another first.

There’s a game break, and folks, it could be worse, because Andy Dalton has four picks today. Anyway, moving on.

Godwin again on a run play, and he gets another first. Dude has 15 catches today. I’m so tired of this game.

The Falcons actually drop Fournette in the backfield for a loss! Now that’s something you don’t see every day. It’s second and 14 for the Bucs with just over three minutes to play. Tampa takes their second time out, stopping the clock at 2:45. Fournette gets the second down carry coming out of the break for a gain of two, and the Bucs are facing a third and 12 as the clock ticks toward the final two-minute warning of the game. At least the Falcons D is getting a breather with these time outs and the two-minute warning in pretty quick succession. They’re going to need to be as fresh as possible to hold the Bucs to this 10-point lead.

On fourth and 3, the Bucs decide to pad their lead with 3 and send Succop on to attempt the field goal, which is good.

Buccaneers 30, Falcons 17

The Falcons will take over just short of their own 30-yard line. Hold onto your butts, folks.

Gage pulls in a pass, goes down hard, drops the ball, and it’s ruled incomplete on the field. Gage is down, grabbing at his knee, which twisted under him at such a bad angle when he went down. If he made a football move (hard to judge this even on replay in my opinion), this one’s a turnover, and that’s gonna be the nail in the coffin of yet another loss at home for the Falcons. Mike Pereira actually thinks it’s a catch and a first down and that’s he’s down before the ball comes out. I’d love that ruling. Gage is apparently fine, which is a relief, because that looked really bad.

OK, Pereira was right! You love to see it. The Falcons get hit with a 10-second runoff thanks to the Gage injury, and there’s 1:09 left to play. On second and 2, Gage pulls it in for a first. The Falcons have no time outs, but Sean Murphy-Bunting is down and appears to be banged up now, so there’s another pause in play anyway.

A little bit of trickeration results in barely any gain. WHAT was that Olamide Zaccheaus catch??? Absolutely bonkers. On first and goal, Ryan fires it into the end zone and Carlton Davis bobbled and dropped what would have been a painful interception for the Falcons. Ryan’s last attempt of the game is intended for Gage, who is unable to pull it in. The Falcons lose at home yet again, which is the most consistent thing about this team this season. We’ll see you next week, folks.