Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

The Bucs get their second in a row as they top the divisional-rival Falcons at home.


The Buccaneers won the toss and elected to receive, just as they have all year. In Week One, they failed to score on their opening possession but they wouldn't make that a habit as quarterback Tom Brady and company engineered a near perfect six-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski. It gave the Bucs an early 7-0 lead with 12:22 left in the first quarter.

Tampa Bay's defense would hold on the next drive, forcing a three-and-out by the Falcons offense despite cornerback Carlton Davis being injured on the drive. Already thin at corner, the Bucs brought in safety Mike Edwards at nickel and shifted Ross Cockrell, who had started the game at nickel, to the outside on third down. Atlanta wouldn't convert, with quarterback Matt Ryan going incomplete to Cordarelle Patterson and the Falcons would punt.

The Bucs offense would again move down the field, crossing into the red zone with ease but a sack of Brady by Dante Fowler results in a fumble from the Bucs' signal caller and Atlanta recovered, taking over at their own 29-yard line. They'd get just across midfield before the Bucs' defense would stop them on third-down and one yard to go, forcing the Falcons to punt again with 3:51 left in the first.

Tampa Bay would trade a punt right back as they suffered their own three-and-out.

The next drive for the Falcons almost looked promising as they got just past midfield. The Bucs' defense forced them into a fourth and one situation that Ryan attempted to take across the line of gain himself only to be stopped by Shaq Barrett and the Bucs' defensive front.

Tampa Bay took over on downs at the Atlanta 46 and would make quick work of getting into the end zone this time. Helped by a pass interference call on A.J. Terrell, the Bucs went up 14-7 on a one-yard touchdown reception by Gronkowski again with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half.

This time, the Falcons would answer with a touchdown of their own, with Ryan handing off to running back Cordarelle Patterson, who took the ball in from 10 yards out. It cut the Bucs lead to 14-7 with 11:48 left in the second quarter.

The next drive would stall for the Bucs again as they got a first down but couldn't take the ball into Falcons territory. The punt from midfield would force the Falcons to start from their own 11.

It would be too much for the Atlanta offense, who despite converting a couple third downs would eventually stall thanks to a third down sack of Ryan by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Bucs took back over at their own 15 with 4:14 to go in the half.

The next drive would prove fruitful for the Bucs as the offense went down the field thanks largely to Fournette's efforts on the ground. A couple key passes to Godwin and Antonio Brown would then culminate in a strike from Brady to Mike Evans in the end zone, giving the Bucs' receiver his first touchdown of the season. It put the Bucs up 21-7 with 43 seconds to go until halftime.

Atlanta's next drive would end with some points thanks almost exclusively to Bucs' penalties. Two offsides and a personal foul penalty moved the Falcons deep into Bucs territory but they'd settle for a 36-yard field goal to make it 21-10 going into halftime.

The Falcons opened up the second half with a penalty on the kickoff return. It backed them up to their own 12. The drive wouldn't last long as Ryan's pass was tipped by defensive tackle Vita Vea, landing in outside linebacker Shaq Barrett's hands for the interception. He returned it to the Atlanta 18 and the Bucs would get extra help thanks to a defensive pass interference in the end zone that set them up with a fresh set of downs at the one-yard line.

From there, Brady floated a pass into the end zone where Evans was waiting for his second touchdown of the day. It made the score 28-10 with 12:43 left in the third quarter.

The next drive was a long one for the Falcons. They went 75 yards in 12 plays ending in a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Calvin Ridley. It made the score 28-17 with 6:35 to go in the third.

The Bucs wouldn't get anything on the next drive with Brady taking another sack on third down that backed the Bucs up to fourth and 20. A delay of game would back them up five more yards and the Falcons would take over at the Bucs' 46-yard line with 4:41 left in the quarter.

Atlanta would answer with points to cut their deficit to an uncomfortable three points. Helped by a couple Bucs penalties, Ryan connected with Patterson for a seven-yard touchdown pass that was followed up with a two-point conversion. It made the score 28-25 with under two minutes to go in the third quarter.

The quarter expired with the Bucs driving. They'd enter the fourth with first and 10 at their own 46. A penalty and a sack would back the Bucs up to where they couldn't recover and they'd punt again. This one was a great kick from Bradley Pinion – a total of 57 yards as it was downed at the four-yard line by safety Andrew Adams.

Unsurprisingly, the Falcons wouldn't get much on their next drive, going three and out thanks to a big-time tackle for loss by Rakeem Nuñez-Roches on third down. The Atlanta punt had the Bucs starting at the Falcons' 46.

It wouldn't take long for Brady to answer. With just half the field to cover, Brady connected with Godwin in the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown pass on a drive that took just 1:35. It made the score 35-25 with 9:18 to go in the game.

The Falcons' next drive was cut short again, this time by safety Mike Edwards jumping a route and picking off a ball from Ryan. He'd take it to the house to put more points on the board for the Bucs in a hurry, making the score 41-25 after a missed extra point.

Atlanta would almost get to midfield before getting stopped by the Bucs' defense. Facing third down and one, Ryan was met with immediate pressure and was hurried into the throw. It went in and out of the hands of about two Bucs defenders before falling to the turf and the Bucs took over on downs at the Atlanta 43.

Almost immediately, the Falcons would take back over in the same fashion, even with Vita Vea coming in to block for Leonard Fournette on fourth down. But it wouldn't matter as a pass of Ryan's was tipped on third down of the Falcons' next series. It landed in the hands of Edwards and he took it in yet again for a touchdown. It pushed the Bucs lead to 48-25 with around four minutes to play.

The Falcons wouldn't get anything on their Josh-Rosen led drive and surrendered the ball on downs again to the Bucs. Blaine Gabbert came in for Tampa Bay and would take a few knees to end the game with a score of 48-25.

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