Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Falcons 28, Bucs 22

Bucs drop their season finale in overtime to the Falcons, 28-22.

The Falcons won the toss to start the game and elected to receive. They made it into Buccaneer territory and at the 35-yard line brought in an extra tackle in Ty Sambrailo, announcing him as eligible. Quarterback Matt Ryan actually threw him the ball, though and he ended up taking the ball in for the score, giving Atlanta an early 7-0 lead.

The Bucs' first series ended quickly when running back Ronald Jones fumbled the ball on the first play and Atlanta recovered at the Bucs' 29-yard line. The Falcons would only end up getting a field goal out of it though as the defense held.

The next series for the Bucs didn't end in points either, despite a great 37-yard catch by wide receiver Breshad Perriman to get Tampa Bay into Atlanta territory. They'd end up settling for a 49-yard field goal attempt though, which was unsuccessful, leaving the score 10-0 with 4:34 left to go in the first quarter.

The teams traded punts before Atlanta had fourth-down and one at the Bucs' 31-yard line. They went for it and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh caught running back Devonta Freeman in the backfield to stand the Falcons up. The Bucs took over on downs as the quarter expired.

Tampa Bay capitalized on their opportunity this time. After getting to the seven-yard line on a 34-yard completion to Perriman, it was tight end Cameron Brate who would get the touchdown on a fourth-down throw from Winston.

The Falcons converted a 33-yard field goal on their next drive to increase their lead to 13-7 with 5:20 remaining in the half but not before outside linebacker Shaq Barrett got a sack in on Ryan, giving him 17.5 on the year and the new franchise record for single-season sacks, surpassing Warren Sapp.

The Bucs next possession ended abruptly as Winston was intercepted by Ricardo Allen and returned to the Tampa Bay 19-yard line. Just as it looked like Atlanta would be adding to their lead, outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul came up with a strip sack of Ryan, which rookie Devin White picked up and returned 91 yards for a touchdown. The extra point after was good and the Bucs took their first lead of the game, 14-13, with 3:07 left in the half.

Behind JPP's second sack of the game, the Falcons would be held to a field goal after getting well into Bucs' territory on their next drive. They retook the lead with the 45-yarder though, making the scorer 16-13 just before halftime.

With just about a minute to work with, the Bucs got the ball back and went down the field in a hurry behind an insane throw to Perriman in between three defenders. It got the Bucs into field goal range but Winston wasn't done yet. He launched a pass to the back of the end zone on third down where Perriman leapt up and made the grab. The Bucs went for two points and Winston got it himself as he ran the ball into the end zone, making the score 22-16, where it would stay going into halftime.

The Bucs got the ball back in the second half and drove into Atlanta territory. They'd have to settle for a field goal try but Gay missed his second of the day on a 44-yard attempt.

Atlanta was forced to punt on their next drive, giving the ball back to the Bucs. After getting to the Falcons' 14-yard line thanks in part to a successful challenge on a no-call of defensive pass interference, Tampa Bay would end up getting hit with an offensive pass interference penalty themselves. It backed them up and forced them into another field goal try. Gay would miss his third to leave the score at 22-16 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons got as far as the Bucs' 19-yard line and were stopped on third-down and two. They elected to go for it on fourth down and were again unsuccessful as defensive lineman Will Gholston batted Ryan's pass down at the line. It forced the turnover on downs and gave the Bucs the ball back.

Tampa Bay got hit with a couple penalties to bring up third-down and 20 at their own 10-yard line. It would end up too much to overcome and they'd be forced to punt.

The Bucs defense would limit the Falcons on their next drive. They'd end up only with a field goal, a 43-yarder that pulled Atlanta to within a field goal with a score of 22-19 with 6:27 left in the game.

Unfortunately, Tampa Bay wouldn't be able to widen their lead on the next drive. The Falcons forced them to punt and got the ball back with time ticking down.

Back to back sacks of Ryan by Barrett increased his total to 19.5 on the season and helped back the Falcons up while on their side of the field. They'd be faced with third-down and 12 but converted it, getting a fresh set of downs in Buccaneer territory. With eight seconds left the Falcons set up another play but it was an incomplete pass as Ryan went for the end zone. They trotted the field goal unit out to tie the game with three seconds on the clock and Younghoe Koo hit the 27-yard kick to send the game into overtime.

The first pass of overtime was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, putting the Falcons on top 28-22.