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Falcons hang on for hard-fought win over Buccaneers

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones races away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson to score. Reuters

The Buccaneers had a huge opportunity to make a huge statement on Sunday, with the NFC-leading Falcons coming to Tampa. But the Bucs fell just short.

Despite playing a tough, hard-fought 60 minutes against the Falcons, the Buccaneers were unable to prevent big plays at big times, and the Falcons escaped with a 24-23 win that all but wraps up the NFC South race.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a big game, completing 25 of 31 passes for 346 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown bomb to Julio Jones, who had a great game of his own. Atlanta running back Jacquizz Rodgers also had a big game, with 49 yards rushing and another 30 yards receiving.

The bad news for the Falcons? Running back Michael Turner looks like he’s wearing a weighted vest out there: He’s slow and plodding and doesn’t make big plays, and he finished with just 17 yards on 13 carries. At this point, any carry that goes to Turner is a carry that ought to go to Rodgers.

The Falcons made some foolish late-game decisions, including attempting (and missing) a 48-yard field goal with eight seconds left, which set up the Bucs in good field position for their final desperation try to win the game. But the Bucs fell short, and in falling short they’ve lost any hope they had of catching the Falcons in the NFC South.

As the Falcons continue their march toward earning home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, these are the kinds of games they need to win. This one wasn’t easy, but the Falcons won it.

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19 Responses to “Falcons hang on for hard-fought win over Buccaneers”
  1. grendelg says: Nov 25, 2012 4:02 PM

    That was a great game! Congrats to the Bucs for building a very solid team of young players. They played hard and it could have gone either way. For most of the 2nd half my heart was pounding with worry about how this would turn out.

    As a Falcons fan I’m thrilled they pulled this one out, but I’m left with worries. Corey Peters went out and Peria Jerry was already out for the game, so we’re thin at DT. Asante Samuel is clearly hurting and Dunta Robinson went out to be tested for a concussion, which could be a problem in 4 days against the Saints. Also, Matt Bryant missed 2 FG’s he should have made, and I worry about his confidence.

    On the plus side our run defense showed up in a big way today. Having Sean Weatherspoon back was huge for us. Julio Jones obviously came back with a vengeance today, too, and we’re gonna need him against the Saints. Gotta agree on Turner, although he had a couple decent runs. Quizz looked great in space though, so hopefully he’ll take on more and more of the load.

    Great game Falcons! Rise up!

  2. tdrundmc says: Nov 25, 2012 4:03 PM

    Tampa Bay, you’re still pretenders.

  3. dirtybirds233 says: Nov 25, 2012 4:11 PM

    This is a game that’s supposed to be close…two winning record, divisional rivals with Atlanta on the road. Games that aren’t supposed to be close: home games to Arizona, Oakland, and Carolina. Atlanta plays to the level of their opponents.

  4. bigblue5611 says: Nov 25, 2012 4:12 PM

    How dumb is Mike Smith? Idiot got lucky Tampa didn’t convert that hail Mary. Risking a FG to give up that field position is just moronic and it almost cost them. Falcon fans you’ll never win big game with this clown

  5. iceshocker says: Nov 25, 2012 4:12 PM

    Injured players all around
    Two missed Matt Bryant FG’s
    Lose TO battle 2-0

    And still come away with the win and limit doug martin to a bad game. Great job falcons.

  6. mavajo says: Nov 25, 2012 4:15 PM

    Falcons continue to squeek by inferior opponents. One and done in the playoffs. Again. And their delusional fans continue to think they’re actually contenders. Lol. This is 2010 all over again.

  7. beckzhere says: Nov 25, 2012 4:16 PM

    Great road win for the Falcons. As I’ve been preaching for weeks, Turner needs to stay on the sideline. Why does Mike Smith keep putting him in the starting lineup week after week?

  8. logicalvoicesays says: Nov 25, 2012 4:19 PM

    I look at these two teams and laugh because they can’t compare to the Redskins. I truly hope the Falcons play the Redskins in the playoffs so that RGIII can embarrass that dirty, mediocre Atlanta defense.

  9. grendelg says: Nov 25, 2012 4:27 PM

    If only the Falcons and Redskins could have played in the regular season to see who’d win… Oh wait.

  10. kane337 says: Nov 25, 2012 4:46 PM

    Falcons already beat the Redskins and knocked him out.

  11. lgbarn says: Nov 25, 2012 4:46 PM

    The Bucs need corners badly. If only Davin Joseph, Adrian Clayborn and Carl Nicks were healthy, this would have been a totally different game.

  12. ronswansonsdinner says: Nov 25, 2012 4:52 PM

    This was a great, but painful game for bucs fans like myself. First, the pass secondary was a disaster and the defensive line had no pass rush all day. Kudos to the Falcons, nothing but positive things to say about them. Rodgers killed us all game. Atlanta got TD’s and the Bucs got fgs. Freeman seemed off on his passes today and the falcons defensive line shut down Doug. Sad thing about the secondary is that they will only play worse against Peyton next week. Go Bucs!

  13. logicalvoicesays says: Nov 25, 2012 5:01 PM

    Regular season gms before Week 8 don’t matter. In the playoffs, the big boys show up and Atlanta naturally could never and won’t keep up. Especially vs a motivated Robert Griffin. Enjoy your fraudulence for now though ATL.

  14. torontofalcon says: Nov 25, 2012 5:26 PM

    Wanna salute the bucs they have a good young team, I enjoy playing cause the games are always fun and their fans arnt ignorant like panthers and saints fans.

  15. bmorefalcon says: Nov 25, 2012 5:42 PM

    I love the Redskins fans out there. In Atlanta, we will continue to enjoy being fraudulent and winning while you can continue to enjoy the truth and losing.

  16. mslegndary says: Nov 25, 2012 7:23 PM

    Why is an idiot redskins fan worried about the Falcons? Redskins aren’t going any where but on their couch , munching out and watching the playoffs. For the record, all games count, it’s why the Falcons are 10-1. Worry about your own division, we are definitely not thinking about you!

  17. jkaflagg says: Nov 25, 2012 8:06 PM

    Washington is a place where MeAngelo Hall is considered a “team leader”…..

    Case closed……

  18. seenoland54 says: Nov 25, 2012 8:50 PM

    Falcon fans you’ll never win big game with this clown
    —————————————————–

    Uhh…kinda hard to argue with 10-1

  19. johnmaddenslovechild says: Nov 26, 2012 1:56 AM

    Long story short the falcons and their fans can enjoy while they can cause come January we know they’ll be back to the drawing board instead of how to stop kap and the niners

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