Buccaneers Lose in Close Battle, 24-23

With three seconds remaining, after getting 9-yards closer on a Dallas Clark reception that made it out of bounds, Josh Freeman dropped back and rolled out to his left. He bought enough time for his receivers to make it down to the end zone, stepped up and heaved a 60-yarder into the sea of hands.

The ball fell incomplete. End of ball game. Falcons 24 – Buccaneers 23.

The game was close throughout. The biggest lead of the day was six points and the lead changed six times. This snaps a Buccaneer four game winning streak, making them 6-5. The Atlanta Falcons improve to 10-1.

Tampa Bay Buccaneer quarterback Josh Freeman had a solid day passing. He hit on 19 of his 30 passes for 256 yards. In one of the more surprising plays of the game, WR Mike Williams caught a lateral and let it fly to fellow WR Vincent Jackson. That play adds 28 yards passing to Williams’ three receptions and 28 yard receiving.

RB Doug Martin didn’t have the yardage that many predicted he would put up when facing a Falcon defense that surrenders 130 rushing yards per game. Martin ended the day with 50 yards on 21 carries. His longest went for 10 yards. The Dougernaut did break into the end zone twice, both times from one yard out.

Both WRs Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood caught five passes. Jackson ended the day with 96 yards and a long of 31, while Underwood collected 77 yards with a long of 39.

K Connor Barth made three of his four field goal attempts. He hit from 22, 42 and 48 yards out, missing a 56-yard try.

Defensively, LB Lavonte David again led the team with eight total tackles. Tied with him was S Ronde Barber who also leaves the game with one more interception to his name, the 47th of his career.  This game marks his 210th consecutive start, which ties him for seventh in NFL history. CB E.J. Biggers recorded six tackles of his own, and had a key sack and forced fumble on third down with the game winding down.

The Atlanta Falcons were led by quarterback Matt Ryan who ends the day with 353 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception. Ryan completed 26 of his 32 pass attempts. His leading receiver was Julio Jones who ended the day with six catches and 147 yards. 80 of them came on a one-play scoring drive in the third quarter. TE Tony Gonzalez finished with five catches and 62 yards while Roddy White’s 5 receptions went for 57 yards.

The Falcons had relative success rushing on the NFL’s leading rush defense, finishing with 79 yards on the ground. RB Jacquizz Rodgers led the team rushing with 49 yards and a score. He also added 30 yards receiving. RB Michael Turner had a TD of his own while rushing for 17 yards on 13 carries.

Falcon K Matt Bryant made one field goal on the day from 31 yards away, but missed on two attempts, one from 22 and one from 48. Bryant came into the day having made 89.3% of his field goals this season.

LB Stephen Nicholas led the team in tackles with 7 while three more tied with six a piece. Both CB Dunta Robinson and DE Kroy Biermann registered a sack on the day.

The Buccaneers will head to Denver next Sunday to face the Denver Broncos. The game kicks of at 4:05 ET.

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