With the continuing evolution of the pass game at the NFL level,...
Falcons Sneak Past Bucs 24-23, Move Closer To Playoff Berth
From The Falcon Wing
It wasn’t easy. Division games rarely are in the NFC South.
Matty Ice and the Falcons secured yet another 4th quarter comeback, as they defeated the high-flying Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-23 on Sunday.
Missed opportunities blighted Atlanta’s efforts throughout. A successful 7 minute opening drive from Atlanta, stuttered in the redzone forcing an early field goal instead of the touchdown. Josh Freeman and the Bucs responded in dominating style, on a pretty ominous touchdown drive finished by the “Muscle Hamster” Doug Martin.
The free scoring first quarter continued as Atlanta regained the lead with a rarely seen sight in 2012, a balanced offensive attack. The Falcons “X-Factor” Jacquizz Rodgers scoring on a 5 yard sweep run and the Falcons had themselves a 10-7 lead.
Atlanta’s Defense, that struggled mightily on the opening drive began to turn things around very quickly. A big goal-line stand limited the damage following a Matt Ryan interception by Ronde Barber, to just a field goal tying the game at 10.
With points at a premium early, the Falcons failure to score, just before the half could have cost Atlanta. Trying to run time off the clock, to prevent Tampa responding before the half, Atlanta failed to convert on a goal to go situation forcing the FG attempt. It got even worse as the typically reliable Matt Bryant shanked a 22 yard field goal, leaving the score at 10 a piece. Without the 7 or 3 points from that drive, things would be tricky for Atlanta later on.
The points not put on the board at the end of the half,were soon added to Atlanta’s total at the start of third quarter. Coming into the game with a Questionable injury status, Julio Jones was anything but, as he was on the receiving end of an 80 yard deep strike from Matt Ryan for the touchdown.
The tide turned again as Tampa came charging back, with Doug Martin’s 2nd touchdown, sandwiched between two Conner Barth Field Goals got the Bucs a 6 point lead, with 8 minutes to play. Tampa took full advantage as both starting corners for Atlanta, Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson, went out with injuries at the end of the third quarter (both would return late in the fourth).
Late in the fourth quarter, is so often Matt Ryan’s show. This time it was time for Jacquizz Rodgers to steal the limelight. A huge kickoff return to Atlanta’s 36 set up the decisive Falcons’ drive. He then continued to reel off a 32 yard run to march the Falcons into Tampa territory. The methodical drive finished off by struggling running back Michael Turner for the 3 yard touchdown gave Atlanta a 24-23 lead.
Tampa would then have a 56 yard field goal attempt to take the lead almost immediately after, with 3 minutes remaining. The kick sailed wide right and Atlanta only had to gain a few first downs to seal the Falcons’ 10th victory of the season.
Atlanta have no time to celebrate this victory, as they head straight back to work to face the hated New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night.