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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15

The Buccaneers take first place in the NFC South with a win over the Falcons


In the Week Five clash against the Atlanta Falcons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated their NFC South rival, earning first place in the division. 

In the first half, the Buccaneers held a 297-89 points advantage over the Falcons. Tampa Bay drew the first blood on a one-yard Leonard Fournette touchdown run, providing a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. Tom Brady finished the first half completing 24-of-33 attempts, marking a new career-high (attempts). Chris Godwin and Cade Otton became Brady's go-to targets over the middle of the field and Leonard Fournette stressed Atlanta's defense horizontally in a domineering screen game. Tampa Bay accumulated 17 first downs through two frames and the Buccaneers' defense held Arthur Smith's offense in check. After a missed field goal attempt by Younghoe Koo, the Falcons entered halftime scoreless – their first time not allowing any first-half points since December 26, 2020, at Detroit. A Ryan Succop 44-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, gave the Bucs' a 13-0 lead before the intermission.

The trend continued in the second half. The Bucs' defense continued to harass Mariota on third down as Todd Bowles unleashed pass rushers – culminating in a five-sack performance. Tampa Bay extended their lead in the third off a one-yard pass/catch from Brady to Fournette. An ensuing two-point conversion attempt gave the Bucs a 21-0 advantage. The Falcons answered with their first score of the game, as Avery Williams' 8-yard touchdown trimmed the deficit, 21-7 inside Raymond James Stadium. In the Falcons' late comeback bid, Olamide Zaccheaus scored, and Atlanta went for two to make it a one-score game, 21-15. Although Tampa Bay's defense allowed 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers' dominant start was too much for the Falcons to overcome. Tampa Bay improves to 3-2 and stay atop the division hierarchy.

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