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Buccaneers – Falcons (13-16): Atlanta wins despite three costly fumbles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) – Atlanta Falcons (4-3): 13-16

Atlanta can thank its defense and special teams. Despite significant domination, the Falcons had to make their best efforts to get out of a trap match in which they got bogged down all alone. They had to compensate for three gigantic fumbles, each worse than the previous one, and which systematically cost points since the team was in a position to score each time. Despite everything, the team was able to win (without Bijan Robinson) thanks to a long-distance field goal in the final moments. The defense completely muzzled Tampa Bay’s running game, making the evening’s opponent absolutely one-dimensional and exposing their weaknesses. The offense was well balanced with 245 passing yards and 156 rushing yards.

Atlanta therefore played to scare itself, but reaped a valuable victory which placed it at the top of its division. The elements are there to dream further and higher, yet the club will not avoid deep introspection regarding its discipline. With 18 penalties called (9 on each side) and these three lost turnovers, the Falcons will not be able to consider anything if they do not straighten things out.

Oppositions of styles for a balanced match

If Tampa Bay begins the meeting with a conservative game based on races and screen passes perhaps lacking conviction, Atlanta does not bother with frills. The Georgian offensive game is explosive and quickly successful. A few actions are enough for Desmond Ridder (QB, 19/25, 250 yards, 38 yards and 1 TD rushing) to cross the line and open the scoring on a small breakaway. A first touchdown which opens the match since in response Baker Mayfield (QB, 27/42, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) alerts Mike Evans (WR, 82 yards, 1 TD)
on a 40 yard bomb to get back to the mark.

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The second half opens with another big gain, when Ridder finds Scotty Miller (WR) on 45 yards full center to place the Falcons in the red zone and collect 3 points. In mirror image, the Buccaneers mount a 15-action drive which eats up the field and also results in a field goal. As expected, the two formations stand together, each in their respective style. And while Atlanta’s long progression continues, we wait for a few points to close the half, Ridder loses the leather on a sack which gives possession back to Tampa Bay. Hard blow for the raptors who return to the locker room without having been able to gain a valuable advantage.

Ball losses and a close victory

Atlanta will return the favor to its opponent when it returns to the field, for better but especially for worse. On a fake play Deven Thompkins (WR, 14 yards) zigzags and ends up having the ball stolen, which places the Falcons at the entrance to the red zone. Yet once again the Georgians will mess up the leather while they are sitting a few centimeters from the paint. Tampa Bay recovers, and the Floridians narrowly escape for the second time. Despite everything, Atlanta will eventually score a field goal before the end of the third quarter, but missed opportunities are costly.

At the opening of the last period, the Falcons finally seem to take control of the game. Tyler Allgeier (RB, 102 yards) and Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, 56 yards) find the solutions and put the Buccs’ heads under water. And while we believe that Ridder crosses the line to score, another twist of drama. Antoine Winfield (CB, 7 TKL, 1 PD, 1 FF) snatches the leather for a third fumble which gives the ball back to Tampa Bay… Catastrophic. And the mishaps continue. As a possible extension looms, Richie Grant (CB, 8 TKL, 1 INT) emerges and intercepts Mayfield, but the Georgians are unable to improve.

With a few minutes left on the clock, Mayfield takes matters into his own hands. He escapes 31 yards and puts his men within range for the equalizer. The Falcons’ release comes from Kyle Pitts (TE, 47 yards) who catches a 39-yard reception 30 seconds from time. Enough for Younghoe Koo (PK, 3/3) to catch the winning kick from 51 yards, a huge relief for Atlanta. The Falcons clinch a close victory after a knife-edge match.

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