The Buccaneers two-game winning streak was snapped, as they suffered a heartbreaking 34-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Buccaneers almost made a great comeback, but they got in their own way. Tampa Bay battled back from 27-6 to make it a 27-20 game. Atlanta tried their best to allow the Bucs back into the game, but Dirk Koetter decided he did not want it.
His playcalling with just two yards needed was questionable, to say the least. Koetter dialed up two straight passes when the Bucs were running the ball pretty well.
Moving on, the defense came back down to Earth, Julio Jones had his way with the Bucs defense. Jones posted twelve catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns. It seemed as if the Bucs had never even heard of Jones.
The Bucs offense was very inconsistent, they failed to put it in the end-zone in the first half with two red-zone trips. The second half, the offense showed more life scoring two touchdowns. However, they failed to come up big when needed the most.
More from Bucs News
- Devin White posts cryptic message to Lavonte David on Twitter
- Updated Buccaneers depth chart after signing two players from rookie minicamp
- Todd Bowles sends clear message about Baker Mayfield’s role with Bucs
- The Athletic is wrong about Bucs one ‘must-watch’ game in 2023
- Todd Bowles admits he only looks at three things on Bucs schedule
Let’s get to the key plays.
Mohamed Sanu – 51 yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones: 12:36 Q2
Yes, you read that correctly. The Falcons were set up with good field position following a good punt return by Roberts. Atlanta took had taken advantage, to say the least. Just three plays into the drive, Sanu lined up in the wildcat formation faked a handoff to Coleman, bobbling it in the process, but that did not affect Sanu as he launched the ball downfield to Jones who made a good adjustment on the ball and caught for a 51-yard touchdown. The Bucs pass rush continued to be nonexistent.
This was a key play because the Falcons scored the first touchdown of the game and had taken the lead.
Matt Ryan – 25 yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones: 7:26 Q2
Jones would find the end-zone for the second time as he was left in single coverage yet again. Matt Ryan led the Falcons on a 72-yard drive this time, Jones would make up 60 of the yards. It was Jones drive from start to finish, he was constantly open and was especially open on the touchdown. Jones made cornerback Ryan Smith fall and was wide open as Ryan delivered the strike and Jones dove into the end-zone in style.
This was a key play because it was a touchdown that put the Falcons up by two possessions.
Matt Ryan – 22 yard pass to Julio Jones: 1:04 Q2
Surprise, surprise Jones made yet another play. Ryan and the Falcons were trying to pick up some points before half-time. Jones’ catch certainly helped as he picked up 22 yards into Tampa Bay territory with the clock ticking down. Jones continued to have his way with the Bucs defense who made no effort to double or have Grimes shadow him.
This was a key play because it put the Falcons in a good position to add points before halftime.
Matt Ryan – 25 yard pass to Mohamed Sanu: 12:51 Q3
Ryan decided he wanted to spread the ball this drive, hitting Sanu for a big play this time. Ryan continued to move the ball on the Bucs with ease, picking up yardage before hitting Sanu for a strike. On third and nine from their own territory, Ryan found Sanu on a quick pass and Sanu did the rest picking up 25 yards and getting to the Bucs’ 29.
This was a key play because it put the Falcons in a great position to score and kept their drive alive.
Tevin Coleman – three-yard rushing touchdown: 10:04 Q3
The Falcons capped off their impressive second-half opening drive with another touchdown. Ryan led the Falcons on a 78-yard drive, filled with big plays. Ryan found Hooper, Jones, and Sanu each for twenty plus yard gains. Coleman finished off the drive with a simple run up the gut. The Falcons were starting to pour it on.
This was a key play because the Falcons scored a touchdown and made it a 3 possession game at 27-6.
Peyton Barber – two-yard rushing touchdown: 6:07 Q3
The Buccaneers finally got a touchdown, it took two and a half quarters, but it happened. Fitzpatrick responded to Ryan’s drive with an impressive one of his own, leading the Bucs 75 yards down the field for a score. Fitzpatrick found Howard, Godwin, and Evans for gains of fifteen plus yards. Barber walked into the end-zone untouched for his first touchdown of the season.
This was a key play because the Buccaneers scored their first touchdown and reduced the lead to fourteen points.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – 29 yard pass to OJ Howard: 1:40 Q3
The Buccaneers finally started to show signs of life on offense in the third quarter. Following the stop by the defense, the offense picked back up where it left off. On just the second play of the drive, Fitzpatrick found “Juice” Howard for a big gain into Atlanta territory. Fitzpatrick threw it short to Howard and Howard did the rest picking up 29 yards.
This was a key play because it was a big play for a team that had lacked big plays this game and put the Bucs in a good position to cut the lead.
Peyton Barber – one-yard rushing touchdown: 13:47 Q4
Game on! The Buccaneers scored early in the fourth quarter and made it a game again. Following the big play by Howard, Fitzpatrick continued to lead the Bucs down the field before Barber found the end-zone again. Barber who had just one touchdown for his career before this game tripled his total with his second touchdown of the game and it was an incredible effort. The Bucs were back in the game with plenty of time left.
This was a key play because the Bucs scored a touchdown and made it a one-possession game.
Kendell Beckwith – forced fumble: 11:11 Q4
If your 11:11 wish was for the Bucs to force a turnover, you got your wish. The Falcons looked poised to score, driving deep into Tampa Bay territory. Ward looked as if he may score before Beckwith came out of nowhere and made a play. Beckwith punched the ball out inside the Bucs ten and Grimes recovered it. The already great play by Beckwith was made even better by Grimes who returned the ball 37 yards but looked as if he were going to take it all the way back.
This was a key play because the Bucs forced a key turnover and got a bonus with solid field position.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – incomplete pass intended for Cameron Brate: 7:05 Q4
Following the turnover, Fitzpatrick quickly led the Bucs deep into Atlanta territory. The Bucs stalled with just two yards to go. Koetter inexplicably called for two straight passes when they just needed two yards on second and third down. On 4th-and-one at the Falcons nineteen, Koetter dialed up another pass. Fitzpatrick attempted to throw the ball to Brate fifteen yards down the field and the pass fell incomplete. The Bucs had all the momentum, but could not pick up two measly yards.
This was a key play because it ended the Bucs drive that looked as if it was going for the tying score and killed the Bucs momentum.
Matt Ryan – 24 yard pass to Julio Jones: 3:42 Q4
The Buccaneers had a chance to get the ball back with time left if they were to make a stop. However, the Bucs failed to account for the guy that had terrorized them all game. On third and nine, Ryan went to trusted target Jones for a game-clinching first down. The Bucs failure to make a stop on third down cost them again.
This was a key play because it picked up a key first down that would pretty much win the game for Atlanta.
Tevin Coleman – fourteen yard rushing touchdown: 1:53 Q4
With the game well in hand, Coleman wanted to make sure there was never a doubt. Coleman bounced to the outside and went in practically untouched for the score. The Bucs defense laid down and allowed the Falcons to add insult to injury.
This was a key play because it was a touchdown and it made the game look less close than it actually was.
The Buccaneers slim chances at turning their season around sunk with this loss. The Bucs now sitting at 4-7, 0-3 in the NFC South find themselves in the top ten of the draft, and not the playoff conversation.
It was encouraging to see the Bucs pick it up on both sides of the ball in the second half. However, the Bucs, as always, failed to make the plays to win the game. Whether it be converting a fourth-down conversion or making a stop on third down. The Bucs just are not good enough to make these plays and it is clear in their play.
The Bucs face a Packers team that gave Pittsburgh a fight last week. It is a winnable game, but do the Buccaneers have any fight left in them?