Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers vs. Falcons

It was a hard fought battle to the end, but Atlanta was able to pull out the win in primetime over Tampa Bay 24-21.

View photos of the Buccaneers' Week 15 game against the Falcons.

The first quarter saw both the Buccaneers and Falcons trade touchdowns. Atlanta struck first on a 6-yard pass to receiver Justin Hardy at 6:58. The Buccaneers answered on the ensuing drive with a 30-yard pass to rookie tight end O.J. Howard, before he would leave the game shortly after with an ankle injury.

Atlanta pulled away in the second quarter, scoring seven on a fumble recovery in the end zone by Levine Toilolo, originally forced out of running back Devonta Freeman's hands by Bucs' defensive end Will Gholston.

A fumble inside the 10-yard line by the Bucs would result in a 57-yard field goal by Falcons' kicker Matt Bryant with less than two minutes left to play, leaving the score 17-7 at halftime.

Tampa Bay opened the second half with the ball, but would come up empty-handed and be forced to punt it away.

Pictures of Jon Gruden's Ring of Honor ceremony from the Buccaneers' Week 15 matchup with the Falcons.

The Falcons would also punt on their ensuing possession, giving the Bucs the ball at their 47-yard line thanks to an 11-yard return by Adam Humphries. Two plays later, quarterback Jameis Winston went deep right where wide receiver Mike Evans made a spectacular 42-yard grab in the end zone for the touchdown. The score pulled the Bucs within three with 8:31 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons got down to the Buccaneers 15-yard line before being stopped by Tampa Bay's defense. Kicker Matt Bryant then had his 35-yard field goal attempt blocked by Bucs' defensive end Will Gholston, keeping the score 17-14 with just over a minute left in the third quarter.

After the Bucs came up empty following the blocked field goal, Atlanta would get the ball back in the fourth quarter. It would take 10 plays, but running back Devonte Freeman would ultimately break loose for a 32-yard touchdown run, putting the Falcons up 24-14 with 7:58 left in the game.

Tampa Bay wasn't done yet. On the ensuing drive, the Bucs went 75 yards down the field with wide receiver Adam Humphries putting in the work, recording catches of 14 and 4 yards before ultimately reaping the benefit and hauling in a 16-yard pass from Winston in the end zone to once again pull the Bucs within three.

Up 24-21 with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter, Atlanta got the ball and wouldn't get past midfield after a third-down sack by defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. But it would cost the Buccaneers all of their timeouts, getting the ball back with 1:00 on the clock.

A completion to tight end Cameron Brate for 13 yards, followed by another completion for 11 yards to wide receiver Freddie Martino and another 11-yard completion by Brate would lead to a 54-yard field goal attempt by Patrick Murray with the clock winding down. The kick went wide right and ended the game with the Buccaneers falling short, 24-21.

Jameis Winston finished the night 27 of 35 for 299 yards and three touchdowns.

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