The Atlanta Falcons dropped their second division game of the season and fell to 6-2 overall as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the NFC South a lot more interesting with a 23-20 win in overtime.
More avoidable turnovers cost Atlanta has 20 of the Buccaneers' 23 points were off of said turnovers.
The Falcons started brightly with an early 21-yard field goal by Matt Bryant capping off an impressive 71 yard drive off of 14 plays. Atlanta's next possession failed to provide similar results as the usually reliable Julio Jones broke free on a 35 yard catch before Kwon Alexander stripped the ball from the star wideout to give the visiting team great field position.
Despite the fumble, Julio Jones had 99 yards receiving in the first quarter.
The Buccaneers would turnover into an easy three points as Connor Barth's kick from 38 yards tied the game at 3-3. The Falcons continued to move the ball well heading into the 2nd quarter but an awful snap from center Mike Person was recovered by Tampa Bay on their own 13-yard line. A 73-yard drive off of 10 plays led to another Connor Barth field goal, this time from 23 yards to give Lovie Smith's team the lead.
The turnover machine was far from done as on the very next drive, Matt Ryan's pass, intended for Jacob Tamme, was picked off by Kwon Alexander and returned to midfield. That interception was again turned into points with Cameron Brate on the receiving end of Jameis Winston's pass for a 20-yard score.
13-3 down at halftime, the Falcons needed a big stop to start the second half and after forcing a three-and-out, they were back to giving the ball away as Matt Ryan fumbled his handoff to Devonta Freeman inside the redzone. Tampa Bay would recover the loose ball and drive 76 yards to add another six points, this time Jameis Winston scrambling for a 4-yard touchdown.
Dan Quinn's team would answer on the very next drive as Matt Ryan threw nine times, including a 7-yard touchdown toss to Jacob Tamme, who impressed all day. The Falcons continued to show fight in the 2nd half, something they've done consistently all season, and began the 4th quarter with another scoring drive, drawing the score to 20-13. With 77 yards from 14 plays, Matt Bryant's field goal from 24-yards out kept the Falcons within touching distance.
The Atlanta defense showed up late in the game to hold Jameis Winston on a 4th and 1 to turn the ball over on downs. Matt Ryan stayed true to his nickname of "Matty Ice" to deliver a 8-yard touchdown strike for Julio Jones to tie the game at 20-20 with 17 seconds left.
The Buccaneers would begin the extra period with the ball and moved the ball efficiently, including converting on three 3rd downs, to allow Connor Barth to give his team the lead again with a 31-yard field goal. The Falcons would get their chance to tie or win the game on offense but fell short as Matt Ryan's pass on 4th down fell incomplete.
The Falcons suffered a handful of injuries throughout the day, including star corner Desmond Trufant going down with a lower back injury. Trufant's partner in the Atlanta secondary, Robert Alford, left the game with a groin injury while defensive tackle Tyson Jackson left the game and did not return.
Jameis Winston: 16/29, 177 yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD.
Matt Ryan: 37/45, 397 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 FUM.
Devonta Freeman: 21 carries, 88 yards.
Doug Martin: 23 carries, 71 yards.
Julio Jones: 12 receptions, 167 yards, 1 TD, 1 FUM.
Jacob Tamme: 10 receptions, 103 yards, 1 TD.
Cameron Brate: 2 receptions, 48 yards, 1 TD.