Al Messerschmidt

Falcons vs. Buccaneers: Bucs lose 24-23

It's Game Day! Here's everything you need to know about today's matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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10 Things We Think We Learned - Bucs vs. Falcons

The Bucs fall to 6-5 in a heartbreaking 24-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. What did we learn for the Bucs' defeat?


Bucs lose a nailbiter to Falcons, 23-24

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers let a win slip out of their fingers, as the Atlanta Falcons put away a one-score game in the fourth quarter.


Bucs secondary still sucks, Falcons lead 24-23

The Atlanta Falcons just responded by driving down the field. They didn't attempt to run the ball, and instead went after a weak secondary on every play. That should be no surprise, as Tampa Bay has struggled to stop anyone from passing on them this year.

The Bucs appeared to have a third-down stop in the red zone, but a questionable holding call against Ahmad Black gave the Falcons another chance, and Michael Turner punched it in. The Bucs now need to find a response.


Big boy drive, defensive stop give Bucs 23-17 lead

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a tough team to beat this year, and they're proving it week in week out. The Buccaneers now lead 20-17 after a big drive.

The nine-play drive saw big passing plays out of Tiquan Underwood and Doug Martin, who punched it in from one yard out to cap it off. The highlight-reel play was a 39-yard pass to Tiquan Underwood over the middle of the field into a tight window.

Doug Martin also knocked Dunta Robinson out of the game, who headed to the locker room with what appeared to be a concussion after knocking heads with Martin. Asante Samuel came off clutching his arm, too.

The Falcons attempted to strike back, but for what I think is the first time this season, the corner blitz got to an opponent. Matt Ryan never saw E.J. Biggers blitzing out of the slot, knocking out the ball. The Bucs recovered the fumble, but a third-down drop by Tiquan Underwood forced them to settle for a field goal. It's now 23-17 for Tampa Bay.


Julio Jones goes 80 yards, Falcons take the lead

This game's a real back-and-forth game. The Bucs took the lead with a field goal on their first drive, but the Atlanta Falcons came right back with an 80-yard pass play to Julio Jones. Yep.

Undrafted rookie Leonard Johnson couldn't handle Jones on a go route, and then missed the tackle too. That was fairly similar to the 80-yard Danario Alexander touchdown the Bucs gave up against the Chargers. The issue there wasn't a go route, but a slant pass - but Leonard Johnson failed to secure a tackle and turned a decent game into an obscenely long touchdown.

The Bucs can't give up those kinds of plays and expect to consistently stop offenses.


GIF: Matt Bryant shanks a field goal

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked him out unceremoniously a few years ago, but he's still going, and he's pretty good. Yep, kicker Matt Bryant usually gets it done for Atlanta.

Except when he completely shanks a 22-yard field goal that would have given the Falcons the lead. Yay.


Ronde Barber interception sets up tie game

Ronde Barber still has it, at his old age. On third down, the veteran fell off underneath Tony Gonzalez and picked off Matt Ryan, setting up a Tampa Bay field goal to tie the game 10-10. That was Barber's fourth interception of the season, and the veteran is having a Pro Bowl season in his first year at safety.

That play was set up not just by Barber, but by defensive end Da'Quan Bowers who hit Ryan as he released the ball. Bowers has improved week by week and he's made an impact as a pass-rusher. If he can continue to play at this level, he should make a big impact down the stretch.

All of that set up the Buccaneers inside the red zone, where a 28-yard Mike Williams pass to Vincent Jackson set up a field goal. Why? Because the Bucs couldn't punch it in, and refused to go for it on fourth down. This third down tackle of Doug Martin killed the drive:

Still, it's a tie game at 10-10.


Shootout brewing, as Falcons take 10-7 lead

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers marched down the field for a touchdown, and the Falcons just did it right back. The Tampa Bay run defense was stout on the drive, but they couldn't get a stop on third down as there was no pass pressure on Matt Ryan.

As long as Ryan can step up in the pocket, he will deliver the ball down the field, and the Bucs haven't been able to prevent him from doing that at all.


Buccaneers take 7-3 lead after their opening drive

The Atlanta Falcons used to come to Tampa and smack them in the mouth with their opening drive. Not this time, as the Bucs stopped them for a field goal (with Mason Foster showing off his wrestling moves).

And then, it was up to their offense. An offense that used to be awful in the first quarter, at one point going nearly a full season without scoring a first quarter touchdown. Not this time, though. Josh Freeman was perfect on the drive, going 4 of 4 for 56 yards. Doug Martin added another 25 on the ground and punched in a one-yard touchdown. This time, it wasn't erroneously called a fumble.

This is going to be a shootout, with two high-powered offenses facing off. But so far, the Bucs aren't just hanging with the Falcons, they look great.

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