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Rapid Reaction: Falcons 16, Buccaneers 13

The Buccaneers fell to the Falcons 16-13 in Week Seven 


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Atlanta Falcons in Week Seven and drop to 3-3. A 51-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo as time expired sealed the victory for the visiting team, putting them in the driver's seat of the NFC South. 

On the Bucs' first offensive drive, featuring a Rachaad White conversion from third-and-11 with stacked maneuvers, Baker Mayfield escaped a sack and threw out of bounds incomplete on fourth down. The Falcons took over on downs at the 42-yard line and capitalized off positive field position. After an 18-yard gain by Jonnu Smith, Desmond Ridder kept the football and ran it in for a two-yard touchdown rush. The eight-play, 58-yard drive gave the Falcons an early 7-0 lead in enemy territory. 

On the ensuing drive, Deven Thompkins started things off with a shifty 31-yard return. Tampa Bay capped off a seven-play, 67-yard drive with a score. A midfield gain by Cade Otton against off coverage moved the sticks to set up the deep connection. Mayfield lobbed a 40-yard bomb and hit Mike Evans in stride down the left sideline, tying the score inside Raymond James Stadium at seven. The aforementioned touchdown marked the Bucs' first touchdown in the first quarter all season long. The Bucs' defense followed suit by forcing a quick three-and-out, but penalties stalled the Bucs' next drive. Tampa Bay had three false starts in the first quarter, including four total penalties for 25 yards. 

Early in the second quarter, a 45-yard pass from Desmond Ridder to recipient Scotty Miller set the Falcons up at the Tampa Bay 21-yard line. The Buccaneers were able to get a stop, as Antoine Winfield Jr. broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Drake London on third down, which forced Atlanta to settle for a Younghoe Koo 24-yard field goal. On the following drive – including first downs by Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Thompkins – the Bucs were unable to capitalize with seven. Chase McLaughlin's 24-yard field goal tied the Week Seven clash at seven. 

At the end of the second quarter from third-and-11, rookie Calijah Kancey shot like a missile through the A-gap, collapsing the pocket around Ridder. Shaq Barrett swarmed from the edge and nabbed a strip sack. Jamel Dean recovered the fumble, ending the first half with a momentum shift in the Bucs' favor. The sack gave the Bucs a halftime yard advantage, 183-179. In the first half, Mayfield completed 16-of-25 attempts for 171 yards and a touchdown to Evans.

The Bucs' defense forced a three-and-out coming out of the half, with pressure on Ridder to force an incompletion to Van Jefferson on third down. On the next possession for Tampa Bay, Nate Landman forced a fumble, which was recovered by Atlanta at the Bucs' 27-yard line. A few plays later, the Bucs became the beneficiary of a turnover in a rare turn of events. The Falcons' botched a snap on first-and-goal. Rookie Yaya Diaby recovered the fumble at the Tampa Bay three-yard line, putting Mayfield and cast back on the field. A rush for no gain on third down by Tyler Allgeier set up a Koo 41-yard field goal on the following drive for Atlanta. 

On the subsequent drive for Atlanta - following a 46-yard gain by Allgeier - Ridder ran it in for a touchdown. Winfield Jr. was relentless in pursuit and knocked the ball out of Ridder's hands at the one-yard line forcing a touchback. He prevented a Falcons' touchdown and put the Bucs' offense back on the field. Despite a 33-yard gain for Chris Godwin on an out route, a Mayfield interception at the Atlanta 11 abruptly ended the promising drive. The defense forced a quick three-and-out, giving the Bucs' offense another shot at the end zone. Mayfield took off for a 31-yard run on third down, his longest rush since a 35-yarder in 2018. A third-down sack by David Onyemata on Mayfield set up fourth-and-goal. McLaughlin drilled a 36-yarder, tying the game at 13 with 45 seconds on the clock. A 39-yard gain for Kyle Pitts put the Falcons in field goal range and Koo nailed a 51-yarder as the clock expired.

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