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2023 Game Preview: Buccaneers-Falcons, Week 14

The Bucs head to Atlanta for a game that is critical to their division title hopes, and they'll face a Falcons team that ranks sixth in rushing on offense and seventh in scoring on defense…Injury updates, series history, statistical leaders and more


The last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visited Atlanta, in the final week of the 2022 regular season, there was very little at stake. The Buccaneers had clinched the NFC South title the week before by beating Carolina, and they were locked into the fourth spot in the conference playoff seeding. Accordingly, Head Coach Todd Bowles rested a good number of his starters and pulled most of the remaining ones not far into the game. The Falcons won fairly easily, 30-17.

Things could hardly be more different 11 months later as the Buccaneers head back to Georgia for a rematch with a 6-6 Falcons team that beat them in October, 16-13. Tampa Bay has made the playoffs for three straight years, won the last two division titles and are very much in the thick of it as they try for three in a row, yet few games in that span have had such deep implications on the team's postseason hopes.

"[It's] the 'one game at a time' mentality," said quarterback Baker Mayfield. "Obviously, they're leading the division. Divisional games are already important, but obviously with where we are at right now, it's extremely important for us. We've got to be singularly focused on any way we can beat the Falcons. We've got to find a way."

If the 5-7 Bucs do not find a way to even up the season series, they will find their path to a third straight division crown very narrow. A loss on Sunday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium would put them two games behind the division leaders, and functionally three back with four weeks to go because the Falcons would have the head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Buccaneers do defeat their division rivals, they will be tied for first place and in control of their own destiny in terms of winning the division.

The Buccaneers are not avoiding this reality. They put themselves into "playoff mode" a week ago and took care of the first bit of business with a win over the Carolina Panthers. Now they move on to their second of four in-division games in the last six weeks.

"It's December football," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "It's a round-robin tournament until the end. We understand the importance of this game. If we can win this one, the next game will be more important than that one. It's the biggest game this week, it's the only game this week. It's a division rival. They're one game ahead of us – we know we've got to try to catch up, they know they've got to keep a lead."

The Buccaneers believe they've grown on offense since scoring just a single touchdown against Atlanta in Week Seven, and in recent weeks that has included a productive rushing attack. The Mayfield-Mike Evans combination is frequently lethal, and the offense believes it can get more out of such contributors as Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer and Cade Otton. In Week Seven, the Bucs twice settled for field goals after getting into Atlanta's red zone, but they did rally for a 13-13 tie late in regulation. Atlanta's defense has quietly shown significant improvement in 2023, thanks to a new scheme under coordinator Ryan Nielsen and a number of imported free agents, including Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, Kaden Ellis, Bud Dupree, Jeff Okudah and especially safety Jessie Bates, who has five of the team's seven interceptions

"The coordinator is doing a great job," said Bowles. "They got pieces this offseason, but they have a scheme that works for them that he brought over from New Orleans that has been playing very well. He's added his own [changes]. They're being very well-coached, they're very aggressive and they're playing tough."

After the Bucs tied that Week Seven game up with 45 seconds left, they needed to get one more stop on defense to take it to overtime. It didn't happen. Desmond Ridder threw a 39-yard pass to Kyle Pitts and Younghoe Koo ended it with a walk-off 51-yard field goal. In a similar position last Sunday while trying to hold on to a three-point lead over the Panthers in the closing minutes, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. came up with the play the Bucs needed, an interception near midfield. The Bucs know they have to be the team that makes those plays in crunch time to have a shot at the playoffs.

"We just have to capitalize on different situations," said Winfield. "That game kind of came down to our last series; we just [have] to make sure we finish, and not put ourselves in that position again."


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) at Atlanta Falcons (6-6)

Sunday, December 10, 1:00 p.m. ET

Mercedes-Benz Stadium (capacity: 72,000)

Atlanta, Georgia

Television: CBS (Local WTSP Channel 10)

TV Broadcast Team: Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (analysts), Aditi Kinkhabwala (reporter)

Radio: 98Rock (WXTB, 97.9 FM), Flagship Station

Radio Broadcast Team: Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play), Dave Moore (analyst), T.J. Rives (sideline)

Spanish Radio: 96.1 Caliente

Spanish Radio Broadcast Team: Carlos Bohorquez (play-by-play), Martin Gramática (analyst)


The Buccaneers and Falcons have played each other 60 times since 1977, and the series is currently dead even. Atlanta tied it back up at 30-30 earlier this season when they won, 16-13, at Raymond James Stadium. That contest was also tied three times, at 7-7, 10-10 and 13-13, before Atlanta kicker Younghoe Koo won it at the buzzer with a 51-yard field goal. Mike Evans scored the Bucs' only touchdown on a 40-yard catch, and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. kept his team alive in the fourth quarter with a remarkable forced fumble at the goal line against quarterback Desmond Ridder.

Overall, the Bucs-Falcons head-to-head record has rarely strayed too far from dead even. In fact, when the Buccaneers defeated the Falcons in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Week 13 of the 2021 campaign, completing a season sweep, it caused the series lead to change hands for the eighth time overall. The Buccaneers upped their lead to two games with a 21-15 win over Atlanta in Tampa last October but the Falcons brought it back down to one, 30-29, by earning the split with a 30-17 decision in the regular-season finale. Overall, the Buccaneers have won five of the last seven meetings in the series.

Since the Bucs and Falcons became fellow NFC South denizens in 2002, Atlanta has gained a slight edge at 22-21. The Bucs' longest winning streak in the series is six, between 1997 and 2003; the Falcons have won five in a row on two occasions, first from 2008-10 and again from 2016-18.

The Falcons have won two in a row against Tampa Bay, also including last year's regular-season finale, a contest in which the Buccaneers, having already been locked into the fourth seed in the NFC playoff field, rested many of their starters and pulled most of the rest early in the contest. Ridder, in just his fourth career start, threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns and Atlanta's defense held the Bucs to 222 total yards of offense.

Earlier in the 2022 season, the Buccaneers held on to a 21-15 victory despite a late Atlanta comeback. Tampa Bay controlled the action for three quarters and used two Leonard Fournette touchdowns to take a 21-0 lead into the final period before Atlanta stormed back with two touchdowns. After an Olamide Zaccheaus touchdown catch made it a one-score game, the Bucs' offense was able to drain the final 4:38 from the clock with one long drive.

The Bucs' two wins in 2021 were both by double-digit margins. In Week at Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers got five touchdown passes from Tom Brady, including two each to Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski – plus Mike Edwards' two fourth-quarter pick-sixes as an exclamation in a 48-25 victory. In the rematch in in Atlanta, Chris Godwin set a team single-game record with 15 catches and Gronkowski once again found the end zone twice in Tampa Bay's 13-point win. Russell Gage, who is now a Buccaneer, caught 11 passes for 130 yards for the Falcons.

Prior to briefly retaking the series lead in 2021, the Buccaneers had been on top with a 24-22 advantage midway through the 2016 season before Atlanta reeled off five straight victories in a streak that included sweeps in 2017 and 2018. Tampa Bay has the all-time edge in scoring in the series, with 1,374 points to the Falcons' 1,302.

In their run to the Super Bowl championship in 2020, the Buccaneers won eight straight spanning the regular season and the postseason, and they downed the Falcons twice in the final three weeks of the regular season, scoring a total of 75 points. Tampa Bay won, 31-27, at Atlanta in Week 15 and then took the rematch in Tampa by a 44-27 margin. The first win required a wild comeback after the Falcons raced out to a 17-0 halftime lead, with Tom Brady throwing for 330 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. The second game at Raymond James Stadium was less stressful, as the Buccaneers led from wire to wire, but included another huge day by Brady, who threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns.

The Buccaneers came close to taking both halves of the series in 2019, winning by a 35-22 score in Atlanta and taking a 22-16 lead into the fourth quarter in the Week 17 rematch in Tampa. However, Matt Ryan led a game-tying drive in the final three minutes of that contest, leading to Younghoe Koo's 33-yard field goal as time expired in regulation. The Buccaneers won the overtime coin toss but lost the game on the first play of the extra period, as Jameis Winston's last pass for Tampa Bay was picked off and returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Deion Jones.

Both of the games in 2018 went down to the wire, neither ending well for the Buccaneers. In Week Six in Atlanta, Tampa Bay rallied from a 15-point deficit to make it a 31-29 game with four minutes to play on Peyton Barber's five-yard touchdown catch. The Falcons then tacked on a field goal to make it a five-point game with just over a minute to play but Winston got the visitors back into scoring range with consecutive completions of 18, 18 and 19 yards to DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and Adam Humphries. With seven seconds left and the ball at Atlanta's 21, the Bucs tried a tricky play in which Winston began to scramble up the middle and then suddenly attempted a lateral to Humphries. The ball ended up on the turf before Evans scooped it up and got a one-hopper off to Jackson, who appeared to have a path to the end zone pylon along the left sideline. However, Jackson couldn't haul it in and time expired on a 34-29 Falcons victory.

In the Week 17 rematch, at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs gave up a 10-point halftime lead and fell behind by 11 in the fourth quarter before once again rallying, this time taking the lead with five minutes to play on a 19-yard Chris Godwin touchdown catch. That was too much time to leave Ryan, however, and he hit Jones on a pair of 16-yard passes to get the ball into field goal range. Matt Bryant won it as time expired with a 37-yarder.


  • Keith Armstrong, the Buccaneers' special teams coordinator, filled the same role in Atlanta for more than a decade (2008-19). He was also on the Falcons' coaching staff from 1994-96, coaching safeties and the secondary.
  • Wide receiver Russell Gage, who is on injured reserve, is in his second season as a Buccaneer after spending his first four seasons in Atlanta. The Falcons drafted Gage out of LSU in the sixth round in 2018, and over the next four years he appeared in 61 games with 21 starts and caught 193 passes for 2,065 yards and nine touchdowns.
  • Meanwhile, punter Bradley Pinion is in his second season in Atlanta after playing the previous three in a Buccaneers uniform. Pinion played in 47 games for the Buccaneers, posting a gross punting average of 43.6 yards and also serving as one of the NFL's best kickoff specialists.
  • Tampa Bay defensive lineman Deadrin Senat (currently on the practice squad) is a former Falcons draft pick, as he was selected out of the University of South Florida in the third round in 2018. Senat played in 23 games over four seasons in Atlanta, 15 of which came in his rookie season, along with his two career starts.
  • Falcons wide receiver Scotty Miller spent his first four seasons with the Buccaneers before signing in Atlanta this offseason. Miller, a sixth-round draft pick in 2019, appeared in 50 games with the Buccaneers, making eight starts and catching 74 passes for 924 yards and four touchdowns. He also had nine receptions in seven postseason games, including a memorable 39-yard touchdown grab just before halftime in the 2020 NFC Championship Game in Green Bay.
  • Buccaneers Cornerbacks Coach Kevin Ross spent a small portion of his long NFL playing career in Atlanta, joining the Falcons in 1994 after 11 years with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ross played two seasons in Atlanta before finishing his playing career with one year in San Diego and one more back with the Chiefs.
  • Keith Tandy, who joined the Buccaneers' coaching staff in 2021 as a defensive/special teams assistant, wrapped up his NFL playing career with one season (2018) in Atlanta after six years on the field for Tampa Bay.
  • Falcons Assistant Head Coach/Defense Jerry Gray played nine seasons in the NFL before beginning his coaching career. His final season as a player was with the Buccaneers in 1993.
  • Defensive lineman Demone Harris, who is on the Falcons' practice squad, first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers in 2018. He played in three total games for Tampa Bay in 2018 and 2019.


Tampa Bay:

  • Head Coach Todd Bowles
  • Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin
  • Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales
  • Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers
  • Pass Game Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach Larry Foote
  • Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong


  • Head Coach Arthur Smith
  • Offensive Coordinator Dave Ragone
  • Defensive Coordinator Ryan Nielsen
  • Special Teams Coordinator Marquice Williams



  • LB SirVocea Dennis (fifth-round draft pick)
  • OLB Yaya Diaby (third-round draft pick)
  • TE Payne Durham (fifth-round draft pick)
  • RB Chase Edmonds (FA)
  • G Matt Feiler (FA)
  • DL Greg Gaines (UFA)
  • CB Josh Hayes (sixth-round draft pick)
  • CB Keenan Isaac (UDFA)
  • S Christian Izien (UDFA)
  • DL Calijah Kancey (first-round draft pick)
  • G Cody Mauch (second-round draft pick)
  • QB Baker Mayfield (UFA)
  • K Chase McLaughlin (UFA)
  • S Ryan Neal (FA)
  • WR Trey Palmer (sixth-round draft pick)
  • RB Sean Tucker (UDFA)


  • S Jessie Bates (UFA)
  • OL Matthew Bergeron (second-round draft pick)
  • DL Calais Campbell (FA)
  • OLB Bud Dupree (FA)
  • ILB Kaden Elliss (UFA)
  • CB Tre Flowers (FA)
  • G Jovaughn Gwyn (seventh-round draft pick)
  • DL Zach Harrison (third-round draft pick)
  • QB Taylor Heinicke (UFA)
  • S DeMarcco Hellams (seventh-round draft pick)
  • WR Mack Hollins (UFA)
  • CB Mike Hughes (UFA)
  • WR Van Jefferson (T-LAR)
  • WR Scotty Miller (UFA)
  • T Storm Norton (FA)
  • CB Jeff Okudah (T-DET)
  • DL David Onyemata (UFA)
  • CB Clark Phillips (fourth-round draft pick)
  • RB Bijan Robinson (first-round draft pick)
  • LB Andre Smith (FA)
  • T Jonnu Smith (T-NE)
  • DL Kentavius Street (T-PHI)



  • Todd Bowles enters his second season as the Bucs' head coach with a new offensive coordinator on his staff. Former Seahawks Quarterbacks Coach Dave Canales takes over for Byron Leftwich, who spent four seasons in that role, the first three under Head Coach Bruce Arians. Canales helped quarterback Geno Smith go from journeyman to the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2022 and has roots in the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay systems.
  • The Buccaneers made a number of other changes to Bowles' staff after the 2022 season, bringing in George Edwards (a former Vikings defensive coordinator) to coach outside linebackers, Brad Idzik to tutor wide receivers, and Skip Peete to take over the running backs room. David Raih and Jordan Somerville also joined the team as senior offensive analyst and assistant quarterbacks coach, respectively. With the arrival of Edwards, defensive Pass Game Coordinator Larry Foote switched from the outside linebacker room to the inside linebacker group. Thaddeus Lewis, who spent the previous two seasons as an assistant wide receivers coach, was promoted to quarterbacks coach.
  • After winning a Super Bowl and two division titles over the past three years, the Buccaneers saw an era come to an end when quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement in late January. To move on at the game's most critical position, the Buccaneers brought in former number-one overall draft pick Baker Mayfield to compete with 2021 second-round selection Kyle Trask. Former Ram John Wolford was also added for experienced depth in the quarterback room. Mayfield was named the opening-day starter by Bowles between the second and third preseason games in August.
  • After largely "keeping the band together" for the 2021-22 seasons after their Super Bowl LV victory, the Buccaneers parted ways with a number of prominent players in 2023. Donovan Smith, who occupied the Bucs' starting left tackle spot for eight seasons, was released in March, as were tight end Cameron Brate, running back Leonard Fournette and kicker Ryan Succop. Safety Mike Edwards, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, safety Keanu Neal, defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tackle Josh Wells all found new homes in free agency while defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, wide receiver Julio Jones, outside linebacker Carl Nassib, tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Logan Ryan were not re-signed.


  • Head Coach Arthur Smith brought in a new defensive coordinator after the 73-year-old Dean Pees, who had already been coaxed out of retirement once, elected to retire again. Smith turned to the Saints' staff, hiring Ryan Nielsen, who had spent the previous season serving as a co-defensive coordinator with Kris Richard for New Orleans. Atlanta was likely hoping that Nielsen would find ways to boost an anemic pass rush after he helped the Saints rank second in the NFL in sacks during his six years as the team's defensive line coach.
  • After Atlanta's quarterbacks coach, Charles London, left to become the Titans' quarterbacks coach/pass game coordinator in the offseason the team chose not to hire a direct replacement on the coaching staff. Instead, Offensive Coordinator Dave Ragone added those duties to his ledger. In the personnel department, the Falcons gave promotions to both Kyle Smith (assistant general manager) and Ryan Pace (director of player personnel).
  • Given their clear commitment to running the football under Smith, the Falcons unsurprisingly chose to give long-term contract extensions to two offensive linemen they had originally collected with first-round draft picks. Pro Bowl guard Chris Lindstrom came first, getting the most lucrative contract ever for an NFL guard, and right tackle Kaleb McGary also got a new deal after the team had previously elected not to pick up his fifth-year option.
  • Atlanta brought in a new veteran quarterback to back up second-year man Desmond Ridder. Ridder had taken over as the team's starter late in his 2022 rookie season, replacing Marcus Mariota, who then left the squad. The new backup is former Washington Commander Taylor Heinicke, who was 12-11-1 in 24 starts for his former team. Heinicke has started two games for the Falcons this year, both losses.
  • Atlanta's defense lost one of its best players near midseason when Pro Bowl defensive lineman Grady Jarrett suffered a torn ACL in a game against Tennessee in Week Eight. Jarrett is one of 10 players on Atlanta's injured reserve list, which also includes LB Troy Anderson and guard Matt Hennessey.



DNP: Did not participate in practice

LP: Limited participation in practice

FP: Full participation in practice

NL: Not listed


  • LB K.J. Britt (back) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • LB Lavonte David (groin) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • CB Jamel Dean (ankle/foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • LB SirVocea Dennis (illness) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • WR Chris Godwin (rest) – WEDS: NL; THURS: DNP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • G Robert Hainsey (knee/knee) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • DB Josh Hayes (illness) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • G Cody Mauch (foot) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • LB J.J. Russell (personal) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: Removed from report
  • NT Vita Vea (toe) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • LB Devin White (foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • T Tristan Wirfs (ankle/back) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.


  • DL Calais Campbell (rest) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: Removed from report
  • OL Drew Dalman (ankle) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: LP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • WR Mack Hollins (ankle) – WEDS: FP: THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • CB Mike Hughes (hand) – WEDS: FP: THURS FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • LB Nate Landman (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • DL LaCale London (knee) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Out
  • OL Kaleb McGary (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out
  • CB Jeff Okudah (ankle) – WEDS: LP; THURS: DNP; FRI: LP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • DL David Onyemata (ankle) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out
  • RB Cordarrelle Patterson (rest/illness) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: Removed from report. FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • CB A.J. Terrell (concussion protocol) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.


Domed stadium. Outdoor weather: High of 60, low of 31, 86% chance of rain, 86% humidity, winds out of the WNW at 17 mph.


Head referee: Alex Kemp (10th season, sixth as referee)


  • Favorite: Falcons (-1.5)
  • Over/Under: 41.0



Points Scored: K Chase McLauglin, 79

Touchdowns: WR Mike Evans, 10

Passing Yards: QB Baker Mayfield, 2,790

Passer Rating: QB Baker Mayfield, 90.0

Rushing Yards: RB Rachaad White, 643

Receptions: WR Mike Evans, 61

Receiving Yards: WR Mike Evans, 1,012

Interceptions: Dee Delaney/S Christian Izien/ S Antoine Winfield Jr., 2

Sacks: DL Vita Vea, 5.5

Tackles: LB Lavonte David, 90


Points Scored: K Younghoe Koo, 90

Touchdowns: RB Bijan Robinson, 6

Passing Yards: QB Desmond Ridder, 2,029

Passer Rating: QB Taylor Heinicke, 84.2

Rushing Yards: RB Bijan Robinson, 756

Receptions: WR Drake London, 46

Receiving Yards: WR Drake London, 573

Interceptions: S Jessie Bates, 5

Sacks: OLB Arnold Ebiketie, 5.5

Tackles: S Jessie Bates, 92



Scoring Offense: 23rd (19.4 ppg)

Total Offense: 23rd (305.6 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 30th (85.2 ypg)

Passing Offense: 19th (220.4 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: 25th (17.8)

Third-Down Pct.: 15th (40.4%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 12th (6.57%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: t-27th (47.1%)

Scoring Defense: 10th (20.4 ppg)

Total Defense: 27th (356.9 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 10th (99.0 ypg)

Passing Defense: 28th (257.9 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: 22nd (20.2)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 27th (42.2%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 13th (8.03%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 4th (40.0%)

Turnover Margin: t-6th (+5)


Scoring Offense: 24th (18.8 ppg)

Total Offense: 18th (328.6 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 6th (135.2 ypg)

Passing Offense: 22nd (193.4 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: 14th (19.9)

Third-Down Pct.: 14th (40.7%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 25th (8.92%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: 22nd (51.4%)

Scoring Defense: 7th (20.0 ppg)

Total Defense: 10th (315.9 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 15th (107.8 ypg)

Passing Defense: 11th (208.1 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: 6th (18.2)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 2nd (33.1%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 24th (6.52%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 1st (37.1%)

Turnover Margin: t-20th (-3)


  • Wide receiver Mike Evans recorded his 10th touchdown reception of the season against Carolina last Sunday, giving him 91 in his career and putting him in a tie for 13th place in NFL history with Davante Adams and Isaac Bruce. One more would put him in a tie for 12th place with his former Buc teammate Rob Gronkowski.
  • Wide receiver Chris Godwin scored his second career rushing touchdown in Week 13 against the Panthers, giving him 35 total touchdowns, which moved him into sole possession of fourth place in that category in Bucs history. His 33 receiving touchdowns remain tied with Cameron Brate for third in team history, so one more would break that tie.
  • Godwin will play in the 100th game of his career on Sunday in Atlanta. His next catch will also be the 500th of his career, allowing him to join Evans as the only players in franchise history to reach that mark.
  • Linebacker Lavonte David has a team-leading 90 tackles this season, which has pushed his career total to 1,434, good for second most in franchise history. David needs 10 more tackles to reach 100 for the ninth time in his career. The only Buccaneer who has done that more often is Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks. That would also make him just the third NFL player to record at least 10 100-tackle seasons since 2000. The only other players to do that since the 2000 season are London Fletcher (14 times) and Bobby Wagner (11).
  • Outside linebacker Yaya Diaby recorded his fifth sack of the season against Carolina. He needs one more to tie Gaines Adams (6.0 in 2007) for the third most sacks by a rookie in Buccaneers annals.


  • Head Coach Todd Bowles on if there's more emphasis on stopping the run this week against the Falcons: "[If] you try too much in the run game, they're going to burn you in the pass game. They've got a lot of weapons on the outside. We've got to play balanced football and we've got to play honest football. Everybody has got to do their part."
  • Quarterback Baker Mayfield on Falcons safety Jessie Bates: "I know I mentioned this the first time he came around – I played him a bunch of times when he was in Cincinnati. An extremely smart player, obviously athletic. Extremely smart, knows how to pattern read, knows how to get everybody else lined up and always seems to be around the ball making plays on it. He's one of those guys that you've got to know where he's at, at all times. When you're going through your progression, he's going to be reading your eyes, so you have to be smart when you're moving through the field."
  • Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. on what he saw earlier in the season from the Atlanta Falcons compared to now: "I feel like they are very much similar to last time we faced them. They still have skilled position players everywhere, so we have to make sure we do our very best to contain all of those guys, because they'll try to come out, attack, [deploy] different personnels, and things like that."
  • Guard Cody Mauch on what he learned in the first meeting against the Falcons: "Not only the way their defense is, but the specific guys you're going to be going against. You actually have reps against them now. Film study is always one thing, but you can actually go back and look at, 'How did I block these guys? And what kind of improvements can you make?'"
  • Bowles on a recent drop in production by wide receiver Chris Godwin: "We've got to get him the ball. We've got to find ways to get him the ball. I can't tell you why it's dipped. If he's double-covered, obviously we can't throw it to him. Certain things require us doing other things with other guys. Mike [Evans] has been playing well. We've got to keep Mike where he's at and we've got to bring Chris along."

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