The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Atlanta Falcons, 30-17 in the regular-season finale. It is on to the playoffs for the Bucs, who clinched the NFC South with a win over the Panthers in Week 17.
The Buccaneers took an early lead at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against the Falcons on their first possession. Capping off a 10-play, 70-yard drive, Tom Brady connected with Kyle Rudolph in the back corner of the end zone. Brady went 4-of-5 for 38 yards on the drive, including a 17-yard gain by Chris Godwin on an out route and Deven Thompkins on an end-around. On Atlanta's subsequent first drive, the Bucs' defense forced a quick three-and-out, with Akiem Hicks getting to Desmond Ridder on a third-down sack. After the Bucs' ensuing three-and-out, the Falcons answered with a touchdown, gifted by a Bucs' fumble. Ridder evaded pressure, scrambled and connected with MyCole Pruitt on a two-yard score, tying the game 7-7.
The two clubs traded field goals before the half – a 49-yarder by Younghoe Koo and a 41-yarder by Ryan Succop – which tied the game again, this time 10-10. Prior to the two-minute warning, the Falcons' fumbled. The ball came out of Ridder's hands during the throwing motion and Devin White shot up the middle, recovering the loose ball. Tampa Bay's offense then took over with Blaine Gabbert at the helm. The Bucs' capitalized off the turnover with a quick, five-play drive. Gabbert connected with Russell Gage to give Tampa Bay a 17-10 lead. During the first half, Brady played five possessions, completing 13 of 17 attempts for 84 yards and a touchdown. During the first two frames, the Bucs held a 184-78-yard advantage and an 11-5 first down advantage.
Late in the third quarter, Ridder threw his second touchdown, to give the Falcons a 20-17 lead. Ridder connected with Olamide Zaccheaus on a three-yard score. Atlanta added to their tally against most of the Bucs' reserves in the fourth with a Cordarrelle Patterson two-yard rush (27-17) to give the club a two-score lead over the division foe. Tyler Allgeier became the catalyst for the Falcons, finishing with 135 yards on 24 carries. Fellow rookie, Drake London, concluded the Week 18 matchup with 120 receiving yards on six receptions, bolstering the aerial attack. Koo's 51-yard field goal sealed the Falcons' victory, 30-17 in Week 18. The Bucs will now look ahead to the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.