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Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers 29, Falcons 25

The Buccaneers outlasted the Falcons 29-25 and improve to 6-7 on the season

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated their divisional foe 29-25 and stay alive in the NFC South hunt. With a late-game touchdown by Cade Otton, the Bucs improve to 6-7 on the season. Rachaad White led the charge with 100 yards on the ground and 33 yards receiving in the close matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Buccaneers were able to drive down the field on their first drive, but Baker Mayfield was stopped short of the first on a third-down scramble, which set up a Chase McLaughlin 55-yard field goal. On the Falcons' first offensive possession, the home team moved down the field courtesy of an 11-yard screen by Bijan Robinson, YAC-yards by Drake London on a 26-yard gain and a first-down scramble by Desmond Ridder. Two key tackles by Lavonte David and K.J. Britt inside the red zone, kept Robinson out of the end zone, forcing a 20-yard Younghoe Koo field goal, tying the game at three. After a quick three-and-out for the Bucs' offense, Carlton Davis III intercepted Ridder on a screen pass at Atlanta's eight-yard line as time in the first quarter expired.

To begin the second quarter, the Bucs' capitalized off Davis' pick. Mayfield plowed his way into the end zone on a two-yard touchdown rush, giving the visiting team a 10-3 advantage. The Falcons answered with a score of their own, capping off a six-play 75-yard drive with a Kyle Pitts 36-yard touchdown. A 22-yard gain by Drake London down the left boundary helped set up the touchdown play. Pitts faked like he was going out following the release, then quickly broke inside and accelerated north-south post-catch to the end zone. On the Bucs' following drive, the team stalled on third down and opted to go for it on fourth-and-two. Rachaad White was met by Jessie Bates III and brought down for a loss of five, setting up a turnover on downs and positive field position for the Falcons.

With a short field, Bucs' rookie Calijah Kancey came up big in a critical moment. On third-down, he got penetration and brought down Ridder, wrapping up his legs for a loss of one. The play forced a Koo 50-yard field goal attempt, but the Falcons' kicker missed, keeping the score tied at 10 with under five minutes to play in the second quarter. On the following drive for Tampa Bay, Mayfield was sacked on third down by Kentavius Street, which forced a Jake Camarda punt after three quick plays. Following the punt, the Bucs' defense came up with a significant momentum-shifter. Antoine Winfield Jr. sacked Ridder and forced a fumble in the end zone. Smith recovered the fumble for Atlanta, but Bucs' defensive lineman Pat O'Connor tackled him for a safety, extending the team's lead 12-10 lead. Just before the half, Koo missed a 52-yard attempt, keeping the Bucs in the driver's seat.

Out of the half, an Antoine Winfield Jr. interception of Ridder was negated by an illegal use of hands penalty on Carlton Davis III. A tackle By Kancey on Tyler Allgeier for no gain, along with tight coverage by Winfield on Jonnu Smith (third down), forced a Bradley Pinion punt. After a quick three-and-out by the Bucs' offense, two key pass breakups by Kaevon Merriweather and Davis set up third-and-long and an ensuing punt for Atlanta.

Both teams then traded three-and-outs, but the Bucs found momentum under the five-minute mark in the third quarter. Rachaad White took a screen 31 yards to the house, extending the Bucs' lead 19-10. He made the initial defender miss and quickly hit the hole, accelerating with straight-line speed. Two back-to-back outstanding coverage plays by Zyon McCollum ended the Falcons' next drive. On second down working against Scotty Miller, McCollum high-pointed the ball like a receiver and gained leverage over the top of Miller. He knocked the ball down, displaying sensational body control and awareness.

In the fourth quarter, Bijan Robinson became the beneficiary for Atlanta on a six-play, 67-yard drive. He turned on the jets following a shovel pass for a 33-yard gain. The next play, Robinson plunged into the end zone for a three-yard touchdown rush, making it a 19-17 game. On the Bucs' following ten-play, 55-yard drive, Mike Evans made an acrobatic catch and got both feet in bounds, but his hand touched the ground before his second foot. The Bucs challenged the initial ruling, but the play was upheld as incomplete. McLaughlin drilled a 38-yard field goal, extending the Bucs' lead 22-17. The Falcons followed suit with a quick five-play touchdown drive, set up by a 45-yard Drake London gain. Ridder ran it in for a six-yard score and the two-point attempt succeeded, giving the home team a three-point lead. Under the two-minute warning, the Bucs marched down the field, as a 32-yard gain by Chris Godwin down the right boundary set up an 11-yard Cade Otton score. Tampa Bay took a 29-25 lead, icing the road victory.

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