Patrick Murray‘s 54-yard field goal try sailed wide right as time expired as the Atlanta Falcons held on for a 24-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.
A sack of Matt Ryan by Buccaneers defensive tackle Clinton McDonald enabled Tampa Bay to get the ball back with one minute remaining. Jameis Winston completed three passes to move the Buccaneers into range for a tying field goal try only to have the attempt just slice outside the right upright.
Devonta Freeman rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown and converted a pivotal third down on Atlanta’s final possession. He also led the team in receiving with five catches for 68 yards.
Freeman’s big night was part of 201 rushing yards racked up by the Atlanta offense against a Buccaneers defense that lost several players to injury throughout the night. Ten Buccaneers in total were announced with injuries at some point during the night.
Matt Ryan added a touchdown pass to Justin Hardy and threw for 212 yards on the night as the Falcons did just enough to hold off the Buccaneers.
Jameis Winston completed 24 of 30 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns in one of best performances of the season and in his career. Winston’s 130.5 passer rating is the second best of his career, trailing only a 131.6 performance against Philadelphia in 2015.
Hardy’s 6-yard touchdown from Ryan capped a nine-play, 62-yard drive to give Atlanta a 7-0 lead. Tampa Bay responded with a 75-yard drive with tight end O.J. Howard hauling in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Winston.
Mike Evans caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Winston and William Gholston blocked a 33-yard field goal try from Bryant to keep Tampa Bay within three. However, Freeman broke off a 32-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to grab a 24-14 lead.
Adam Humphries caught a 16-yard touchdown from Winston with 4:07 remaining and the Buccaneers defense did enough to get their offense one more shot before Murray’s kick sailed wide.