Buccaneers 13, Falcons 3
Tampa Bay has done something they have done all season long: they showed up in the first half.
It’s a huge divisional matchup for both teams but more so for the Bucs, who have yet to win a game against the Falcons during the Morris-Freeman era. So far it’s looking so good for the Bucs. Connor Barth hit a 49 yard field goal to put the Bucs up first and leave it up to the defense to hold that lead.
They didn’t hold it but they didn’t blow it either. Tampa has done a nice job holding back the Atlanta offense from becoming the Hotlanta we are all familiar with. The Falcons only have a total of 141 yards and Matt Ryan been successfully kept away from his dangerous weapons, Roddy White and Julio Jones.
What is perhaps most impressive is the Bucs defense being able to stop Michael “Burner” Turner and keep in check. The big guy in the backfield has been held under 20 total yards of rushing which has systematically shut down the effectiveness of the Falcon offense. The defense has used the failure of the Falcon run game to apply pressure to Matty Ice and force 2 fumbles and getting a touchdown off of one of them. The defense got a huge third turnover in the form of a Matt Ryan interception which killed a Falcon drive that looked like it would narrow the gap before the half.
Offensively for the Bucs they haven’t been much better than Atlanta but they have been able to take advantage of miffs by the Falcons in the form of fumbles. Josh Freeman has been pretty lights out however, going 14/19 for 114 yards and rushing for the lone touchdown in the game. He did throw an interception but it was a fruitless drive for the Falcons that ensued. LaGarrette Blount hasn’t put up much better numbers than Turner, but has proven more effective in moving the ball to put the Falcons on their heels.
A nice bright spot has been tight end Luke Stocker, who already in just his third game, is complementing Kellen Winslow nicely which is opening up targets for Josh Freeman.
Not much needs to be adjusted for the Bucs, more things just need to be continued. The defense is stopping the Falcons when they need to and are dissecting their weapons and removing them from Matt Ryan’s arsenal. The pressure on Ryan must continue which will force throws and create more turnovers. Tampa has a 10 point lead which isn’t much against the Falcons. Tampa saw last week from the Vikings how not to finish a game, Atlanta has the potential to turn it on in the second half and take the lead. The defense needs to continue it’s current trajectory and the offense will be able to work with the momentum.
This is a huge game for Tampa and although they have the lead at the half, it mustn’t go their heads. Raheem Morris needs to tell his guys the game still has 30 minutes left and that’s more than enough time for Matt Ryan to get his act together and lead the Falcons to a come-from-behind-win.
But so far so good for the Bucs who are just a half away from knocking off a divisional foe and improving to 2-1.
This has been The Pewter Plank Halftime Report. Check back after the game for The Pewter Plank Postgame Report. Thanks for joining us.