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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game Awards: Bucs vs. Falcons

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Game Ball* QB Josh McCown stepped back into the lineup and delivered a 301-yard game, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Neither turnover was the result of a poor decision or badly errant throw; the first was a deflected pass in the end zone with two minutes to play and the second was a desperation heave in the game's final seconds. McCown was under constant pressure, as evidenced by the four sacks and 11 QB hits he absorbed, but he moved around well to extend plays and even led the team with 39 rushing yards. McCown's determination in difficult moments helped the Bucs convert a season-high 12 third downs in 17 tries.Play of the Game After the Falcons took a 24-17 lead with 9:25 to play, McCown and the Bucs' offense took the field looking to build on what had been a strong second half. Instead, Atlanta's defense forced just its second three-and-out of the entire game. On third-and-two from the Bucs' 28, McCown took the snap and immediately rolled right, but the Falcon defense effectively blanketed all of his receivers and cut off the edge for a potential QB scramble. In the end, McCown was sacked for a loss of eight just before hitting the sideline. The ensuing punt was short and the Falcons tacked on a quick field goal to go up by two scores with four minutes to play.*

Turning Point** The Bucs' 34-yard touchdown drive following a long punt return by Marcus Thigpen gave Tampa Bay a lead in the fourth quarter for the sixth time this season (including the Pittsburgh win in which that lead came with just seven seconds to play). Tampa Bay's hopes of holding on to this lead slipped away quickly, as a post-TD penalty led to great field position for the Falcons and a pair of Julio Jones catches down the middle of the field got the visitors into Bucs' territory almost immediately. The drive eventually ended in Roddy White touchdown catch and the lead never changed hands again.It Was Over When
A replay challenge with a little less than two minutes to play changed a first-and-goal incompletion into a Falcons interception. The Bucs would have still had a hill to climb had they held onto the ball and scored at that point, as they would have needed to get the ball back and score again in the game's last two minutes, but the turnover erased any real chance of a comeback.

Photos from the first half of Buccaneers vs. Falcons at Raymond James Stadium.

Photos from the second half of Buccaneers vs. Falcons at Raymond James Stadium.

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