Things got a little too close for comfort there in the second half but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished their 2020 regular season by sweeping the Atlanta Falcons, beating them 44-27 in week seventeen.
However, there is still some worry and concern among Buccaneers fans.
In the first quarter, Mike Evans surpassed 1,000 yards - making him the first receiver in NFL history to start a career with seven consecutive seasons of 1,000 receiving yards or more. However, on the next play, Evans hyperextended his left knee and would leave the game. Wearing a knee brace, he would leave Raymond James Stadium and go to get an MRI. As of now, the results and his status are unknown.
It was all Bucs early on, taking a 20-3 lead thanks to two Ryan Succop field goals as well as touchdown passes from Tom Brady to Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. However, the Falcons would not go quietly. They were able to tack on a touchdown at the end of the half before Succop hit his third field goal.
The Falcons started the second half with the ball, trailing 23-10 and would score following an eleven play drive, eating more than six minutes off the clock. On their ensuing possession, Brady would find Scotty Miller who bobbled a diving catch attempt and the ball would be intercepted by Ricardo Allen.
The Falcons would go on another six-plus minute drive totaling fifteen plays and capping it off with a Younghoe Koo field goal to cut the lead to 23-20.
Brady and the offense would answer, finishing off a 75-yard drive with a four yard score by Ronald Jones who would finish the day with 78 yards rushing, just shy of the 1,000 yard mark on the season.
A quick drive and score by Atlanta’s Hayden Hurst cut it to 30-27 before Brady and the offense would go 75 yards in under five minutes and Chris Godwin would find the end zone for the second time in the game. Godwin would finish with five receptions for 133 yards and two scores.
With a chance to keep it close, Matt Ryan hit Calvin Ridley for what would have been a first down pass but Ridley was stripped by Bucs corner Sean Murphy-Bunting who quickly recovered the ball and the Bucs would take over at the Falcons’ 38-yard line.
Brady, on third-and-two, found Antonio Brown who was able to catch and run thirty yards to the end zone for his second score of the game. Brown would finish as the team’s leading receiver in Evans’ absence, racking up eleven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
Brady extended his franchise record for most touchdown passes in a season, finishing with an even 40 after throwing for 399 yards and four touchdowns against Atlanta.
The Bucs are still waiting to find out who they will face in the first round of the playoffs. If the Washington Football Team wins tonight, the Bucs will travel to FedEx Field and face them. If not, the New York Giants will win the NFC East and the Bucs will have to travel to Met Life Stadium.