The most important numbers to come out of the first half of Tampa Bay’s season finale at Atlanta: 13 and three, the respective point totals for the Buccaneers and the Falcons. A year ago, in a somewhat similar situation, the Falcons took a 42-7 lead into halftime, so Sunday’s game shows rather significant improvement in 2012.
Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on some numbers that individual Buccaneers are ringing up in the service of a potential season-ending victory. Several Buccaneer records and milestones could still fall before Sunday’s game is over. Continue reading
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be taking a lead into halftime. Each team had a stop within the final two minutes of the half. The quarter ended on a Lavonte David sack of Matt Ryan. The Bucs lead 13-3.
Connor Barth has his two field goals on the day: a 48-yarder on the team’s first possession and a 22-yarder in the second quarter. The second field goal was set up by a blocked punt from special teams standout, Dekoda Watson.
On their first possession of the second quarter, QB Josh Freeman found WR Mike Williams in the back of the end zone for the only touchdown of the day.
Freeman has completed 12 of his 18 passes for 138 yards and the touchdown. Williams, who hauled in the touchdown reception leads the team with five receptions for 42 yards. TE Luke Stocker is the yardage leader with 50 on three catches. His two long receptions, one for 26 yards, helped to set up the touchdown pass. WR Vincent Jackson has been held without a catch so far in the game.
Defensively, Mason Foster leads the team in tackles with seven. The defense has had success rushing the passer with four QB hits. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Lavonte David have each registered a sack. David’s came on the last play of the half as the Falcons set up for a long hail mary attempt.
For the Falcons, Matt Ryan has connected on 15 of his 22 attempts. Roddy White leads the team with five receptions and 42 yards. Julio Jones has added 38 yards on two catches. The Falcon running backs have been splitting time in the backfield. Jacquizz Rodgers had 24 yards rushing on three carries while Jason Snelling has 32 total yards.
The Falcon defense has deflected five Josh Freeman passes. Three Falcon defenders have tallied three tackles on the day.
The Buccaneers will have the ball first in the second half and look to pad their 10-point lead.
The Buccaneers added three points off the Dekoda Watson blocked punt.
The Buccaneers were able to get it down to the Atlanta four yard line on a third-down play, but were forced to go for the 22-yard field goal, Connor Barth’s second strike of the day.
The Bucs make it a two-possession game and the Falcons will get the ball back with just under three minutes left in the first half.
The Buccaneers ended another great defensive stand. Ahmad Black broke up a pass deep downfield before Lavonte David got another great pass breakup, nearly getting the interception.
Forcing a fourth down on the Falcon 37-yard line, Atlanta Lined up for the punt.
P M. Bosher fielded a very low snap and tried to get the ball away but Dekota Watson pushed his blocker all the way back. The punt was deflected off the Falcon’s back and flew out of bounds at the Falcon 26-yard line. Watson will get credit for the block, his second of the season.
The Buccaneers will take over and look to make it a two-possession game on the conference-leading Falcons.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have retaken the lead, thanks in large part to some big plays by TE Luke Stocker.
The drive began at the Buccaneer 36 after the defense forced the second Falcon punt of the day. Doug Martin lost a yard on the first drive, but did make his presence felt on the next three plays through the play action game.
On play action passes, Josh Freeman connected with Stocker on the next two plays, forst for a gain of 17 where Stocker shows his athleticism hurdling a defender. On the next play, Freeman faked the handoff and rolled to the right before turning and passing to Stocker across the field for a 26-yard gain. With 50 yards already, Stocker has reached a new single-game career high.
On the next play, another play action led to a Freeman completion to FB Erik Lorig, setting the Bucs offense up at the 11-yard line. After two runs, the Bucs were on a third-and-seven from inside the 10-yard line when Freeman dropped back for the pass. He bought some time with his legs before stepping up and hitting WR Mike Williams in the back middle of the end zone. Williams got both feet down and gave the Bucs a one-touchdown lead.
Mike Williams has four receptions on the day for 35 yards and a score. The TD pass is Freeman’s 27th of the season, a Buccaneer-single season record. It is also the 78th of his career, making him also the Buccaneers career leader, passing Vinny Testaverde’s 77.
The Buccaneers and Falcons close out the first quarter all tied up at three apiece. Connor Barth hit a field goal on the Bucs’ first possession of the game from 48 yards out. On the next Falcon possession, Matt Bryant nailed one from 28 yards to tie the game.
Josh Freeman has hit six of his nine passes for 58 yards. Mike Williams leads Bucs’ receivers with three catches for 27 yards. Doug Martin is off to a quick start with five carries good for 29 yards and one catch of seven yards.
Defensively, E.J. Biggers leads the team with four tackles. Both Lavonte David and Michael Bennett have recorded a quarterback hit on Matt Ryan.
For the Falcons, Matt Ryan has connected on six of his nine throws for 64 yards. Roddy White has three catches of 30 yards while TE Tony Gonzalez has 15 yards on one catch. RB Jacquizz Rodgers has one carry of 16 yards, while Ryan has scrambled twice for 11.
Both Asante Samuel and Thomas DeCoud have two tackles. Three Falcons have deflected passes.
The Buccaneers start the second quarter on fourth-and-two from their own 45-yard line.
The Falcon’s offense answered the Buccaneers’ score successfully, driving to the Buccaneer 10-yard line before settling for the field goal.
The Falcons have been rotating all three of their running backs throughout the game. On this drive, RBs Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling got things rolling for Atlanta.
Rodgers took a first down run 16 yards before Snelling gained 16 of his own on a run then pass reception. After a 10-yard completion to Roddy White, the Falcons were set up on the Bucs’ 16-yard line with a first down.
On the first play, Lavonte David fought his way into the backfield and got to the arm of Matt Ryan forcing the incompletion. On the second play, Ryan was flushed out of the pocket on a big rush from Gerald McCoy. The ball was thrown away, short of the line of scrimmage, but was called as not intentional grounding after further review as a receiver was in the area. On third down, Ronde Barber stopped a Ryan scramble that set up the 28-yard field goal.
The Buccaneers will go back on the field with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter.
After forcing a punt on the Falcons’ opening possession, the Buccaneers offense took over from their own 10-yard line.
Josh Freeman got of to a quick start, hitting on his first two passes, both of them to Mike Williams, bringing them out past the 30-yard line. On the ensuing first-and-10, Doug Martin got his first carry for four yards and got the first down himself on a screen pass good for seven.
Doug Martin found the hole and brought the ball upfield 19 yards on his second carry of the game, bringing the Buccaneers past midfield. With one more carry, Doug Martin touched the ball on four straight plays, gaining 34 yards.
A short completion to Mike William and a batted pass brought K Connor Barth onto the field for a 48-yard field goal try that made it through the uprights.
The Buccaneers take the early lead 3-0 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.
The final game of the Buccaneers’ season is underway. Buccaneer captain Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson, Adam Hayward, Gerald McCoy, Ronde Barber and Andrew Economos took to mid field for the coin toss.
The Falcons won the toss and elected to receive. A high pop-up kick was returned by Jacquizz Rodgers only to the 15-yard line where the Falcons offense will take over.
In just under one hour, the Buccaneers will open their final game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons. Here is a list of today’s inactives for both teams.
Atlanta Falcons: QB Dominique Davis, CB Christopher Owens, S William Moore, C Joe Hawley, G Phillipkeith Manley, G Harland Gunn & DT Travian Robertson.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Eric Wright, RB Michael Smith, LB Jacob Cutrera, G Roger Allen, WR Chris Owusu, DT Corvey Irvin DT Matthew Masifilo.