TAMPA — Tampa needed a win against the Falcons to not only improve to 2-1 on the season but to make a stand in the NFC South as a real deal team.
Tampa had yet to beat the Falcons during the Morris-Freeman era but that all changed when the Freeman led Bucs did everything right against the Atlanta Falcons in Tampa on Sunday. Freeman led the bucs to a crucial 16-3 win over their divisional foes and to monsterous leap to the top of the NFC South.
The game was a tight one, as expected, but for the first time under Morris the result came out in Tampa’s favor. Despite only throwing for 180 yards in the game, Josh Freeman used his leadership swagger to infuse the Bucs with confidence to overcome the Falcons. The defense is the shining hero in the game however, holding the Falcons in check for a majority of the game and keeping their weapons from exploding and doing serious damage.
They let Matt Ryan off the chain in sorts, especially when he wanted to throw to Roddy White who racked up 140 yards. Julio Jones finally showed up the way the Falcons wanted him to when they drafted him as he went for 115 yards. But the Bucs defense held both receivers out of the endzone. The lone Falcon touchdown came from Tony Gonzalez who was otherwise silent in the game. His touchdown catch was one of his two catches on the day.
Michael Turner was held back by the Bucs defense as well, going for just 20 yards on 11 carries while the guy on the other side of the ball, LaGarrette Blount, helped Tampa move the ball with his 81 yard contribution.
The big play came at the end of the game when the bucs were faced with a big spot 4th and 1 and Josh Freeman used his talents to draw the Falcons offsides and move the chains. It’s just further proof of the quality of leader Josh Freeman is in every aspect of the game. We all know he’s comeback kid, but now he’s establishing himself as a closer too and that, for Tampa, is huge.