One month ago, the Buccaneers left the Georgia Dome after falling to the Atlanta Falcons. This week, the division rival made their way into Raymond James Stadium to face a Buccaneer team looking not only to avenge their loss, but to spark a winning streak. The crowd in Raymond James and @TBBuccaneers, the official Twitter of the Bucs, was hyped as the Buccaneers starting offense was called out onto the field to cannon blasts and fireworks.
ATL has taken the field, Bucs starting line-ups about to take place, kickoff in 10 min...let's go Bucs fans! #ATLvsTB pic.twitter.com/zgTzWoswZR — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) November 17, 2013
Before kickoff, NFL Stats added to the Buccaneer online noise, pointing out an impressive stat for Bucs' rookie quarterback Mike Glennon:
The Bucs would get the ball first and punt it away. Atlanta quickly drove with Steven Jackson taking the two first plays 22 yards down the field. However, the Bucs would answer back, by way of a big play by DT Gerald McCoy, as called by TBO.com's Ira Kaufman
Bucs defense looks a step slow so far on Atlanta's first drive -- until Gerald McCoy drops Matt Ryan for a 4-yard loss. — Ira Kaufman (@IKaufmanTBO) November 17, 2013
Before anyone could write their tweet about the first sack, McCoy struck again:
McCoy sacks Ryan again! 10-yard loss sets up third and 24 from the 49. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) November 17, 2013
The Falcons would be forced to punt, the Bucs would take the drive down the field, gathering an impressive 54 yards on the ground despite missing both Doug Martin and Mike James (but more on that later). Rick Brown of the Ledger accounts the first points of the game:
The first quarter came to a quiet end with just three points on the board.
To begin the second, the Falcons would drive again, this time entering the Bucs' red zone, aided by a 15-yard Buccaneer penalty. The defense would hold them up on first and second down before Gerald McCoy put another stamp on the game.
Gerald McCoy... three sacks on the day. This one without a shoe. Apparently he's going for both style AND difficulty points today — Captain Fear (@THECaptainFear) November 17, 2013
The Falcons would settle for a field goal, tying the game. Atlanta Falcon's official Twitter calls the kick:
The Buccaneers offense would get things going immediately on the next drive, which began with a stellar reception from wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Just as the Buccaneers offense started heating up, so did social media:
What a catch by VJax! Acrobatic down the right sideline. Should have been defensive pass interference, too. — JoeBucsFan (@JoeBucsFan) November 17, 2013
Vincent Jackson has apparently decided to only use 1 hand every time the Bucs play Atlanta. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) November 17, 2013
Just put up the ball where Jackson can catch it and you're good. — Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) November 17, 2013
Two plays later, RB Bobby Rainey would slash the Falcons' defense with a big run, as noted by NFL's Around the League:
Bobby Rainey can play a little bit. 43-yard touchdown run puts Bucs up 10-3 on Falcons. — NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) November 17, 2013
And, as has been the case for the Buccaneers in the last few weeks, they were not afraid to pull out a few stops to swing the momentum. Tom Krasniqi of 620 WDAE and 95.3FM shares the unexpected call:
The Bucs' drive would stall, but again, Tampa Bay would go for a bit of trickery, faking a field goal attempt. The ball would fall incomplete, giving the Falcons the ball at the 34-yard line. ATL ball at 34 yard line. The missed fake wouldn't cost much however, as on the very next play even more tweets came flowing in Tampa's direction:
Bucs Mason Foster with his second pick 6 this season. Incredible return. — Kevin ODonnell Fox13 (@ODonnellFox13) November 17, 2013
Now 17-3 Buccaneers, Atlanta would string together two first downs, moving toward Buccaneer territory. Matt Ryan hit Roddy White downfield for a gain of 16, but a big hit from Dashon Goldson would jar the ball loose…
Taking over with great field position, the ensuing drive's first play of drive would be a 9-yard run by Rainey. Jenna Laine calls the importance of that run and the rest of the drive.
RB Bobby Rainey has now eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Took him 11 carries to get there. — JennaLaineBucs (@JennaLaineBucs) November 17, 2013
Rainey 3-yard TD run..his second TD of the game. Set up by a 20-yard dart to Tiquan Underwood. Bucs lead 24-3 with 3:16 left in the 1st half — JennaLaineBucs (@JennaLaineBucs) November 17, 2013
That second rushing touchdown by the Buccaneers' second replacement running back spurred the attention of a more national audience with ESPN's Ed Werder, NFL Fantasy and Sportscenter among those taking notes:
Bobby Rainey, third-team RB for Bucs, looking like Darren Sproles on 43 yd TD run — Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) November 17, 2013
Bucs RB Bobby Rainey is having a DAY - 13 Rush, 110 Yds, 2 TD (all career highs). TB leads 24-3. — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 17, 2013
In a high octane second quarter, Atlanta would again get points on the board in an attempt to answer the scoring pace of the Buccaneers. WFLA calls it.
Atlanta scores a field goal. Bucs 24 Falcons 6. — WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) November 17, 2013
Before the end of the first half, TBO.com writers Ira Kaufman and Roy Cummings weighed in the state of the Bucs through first half.
Been a long time since the Bucs seemed to be having so much fun playing a game. That win vs. Miami took a lot of weight off their shoulders — Ira Kaufman (@IKaufmanTBO) November 17, 2013
Bucs are doing to the Falcons today what many teams did to them in the early going: Forcing them to settle for field goals instead of TDs — Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) November 17, 2013
Halftime would come with a roar of the Buccaneer crowd. @TBBuccaneers shows the impressive individual stats to this point.
HALFTIME: TB 24, ATL 6 Glennon: 14/17, 153 yds Rainey: 13 carries, 110 yds, 2 TD Jackson: 6 catches, 94 yds #ATLvsTB pic.twitter.com/GiyLxeNhDN — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) November 17, 2013
Rookie QB Mike Glennon at the half: 14 of 17 ffor 153 yards and a 104.2 passer rating. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) November 17, 2013
Atlanta received the ball to start the second half, driving the ball into Buccaneer territory and showing some misdirection plays of their own as they successfully converted on a fake punt on fourth down. Four plays after that, they would again go for the fourth down conversion, however this time it was broken up by Dashon Goldson. Though they received the ball back, the Bucs would get some bad news on the drive. Rick Stroud reports:
As was the case in the second quarter, the Buccaneers struck quickly, again with Glennon hitting Jackson deep downfield, as called by Pewter Report:
Vincent Jackson with another great adjustment and catch on the deep ball from Glennon. 53-yard completion! Jackson, 7 catches, for 147 yards — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) November 17, 2013
And it was Bobby Rainey once again, this time receiving, to add seven more points to the Buccaneers scoreboard. Another flood of positive tweets rolled in for the unexpected breakout star.
TOUCHDOWN TAMPA BAY! Bobby Rainey with the three-yard touchdown catch after a 53-yard Vincent Jackson catch! Bucs up 31-6! — Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) November 17, 2013
I am going to guess that Bobby Rainey will be a popular waiver-wire add next week. — Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) November 17, 2013
Rainey's performance was even greeted with props from our Monday Night honoree:
See my Bucs rolling! — Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) November 17, 2013
Atlanta would again take the field and again stumble, being forced to punt eight plays later. With an interception and fumble already, the Bucs would find a new way to get the ball back.
The Bucs would have just a 20-yard field ahead of them, but the Falcons defense held strong, forcing fourth-and-one from the 11-yard line. To keep things going, the Bucs would go for it.
Tampa Bay goes for it on fourth down, and converts! First-and-goal Tampa Bay. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) November 17, 2013
From three yards out, a new Buccaneer would get involved in the scoring game. Vincent Jackson caught his eighth pass of the day for the TD, giving him 150 yards on the day and the Buccaneers a 38-6 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter. Rick Brown notes another big milestone on the play:
Down 32, Atlanta would strike quickly:
The Bucs would be forced to punt on the next possession, but would make short time of getting the ball back. WDAE's Tom Krasniqi calls another Buccaneer first:
Off the turnover, the Buccaneers would get a field goal, putting them over 40 points for the first time since winning in Oakland last season.
From that point, both teams would opt to put in members of the second string. Atlanta announced their personnel change:
The Falcons were not done adding to their point total even with replacement in the game. RB Antone Smith would take one in with an impressive run from 50 yards out.
The Bucs offense would also replace many of their starters, and a final fantasy update would roll in for Bobby Rainey, who ended the day with 30 carries for 163 yards and three total touchdowns.
Bobby Rainey currently leads ALL fantasy scoring leaders. He was started in 2% of teams that own him. Here's to hoping you started him. — FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLONFOX) November 17, 2013
On the Falcon's next drive, Matt Ryan would re-enter the game. John Clayton of ESPN notes the injury to Falcon QB Dominique Davis.
Dominique Davis gets hurt for Atlanta so Matt Ryan had to come back in blowout loss to Tampa Bay — John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) November 17, 2013
With Ryan in, the Falcons would add seven more before the clock wound its way to zeroes, hitting Roddy White from six yards out.
Time would expire after those points and the Buccaneers emerged victorious for the second straight game after taking down their divisional foe and improving to 2-8.