NFL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Atlanta|
(Sunday, November 7th)
Final Score: Atlanta 27, Tampa Bay 21
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Michael Turner ran for two first-half
touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons made a late defensive stand to claim sole
possession of first place in the NFC South with a 27-21 win over the upstart
Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Turner had 107 yards on 24 carries for the Falcons (6-2), who were coming off
a bye week. Matt Ryan completed 24-of-36 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown
in the win, his 13th straight at the Georgia Dome.
Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns, but
was picked off twice.
The Buccaneers (5-3) have lost four consecutive games to the Falcons.
Freeman was intercepted by Jonathan Babineaux on the opening series of the
third quarter and the Falcons converted the turnover into a five-yard
touchdown pass from Ryan to Michael Palmer.
Matt Bryant drilled a 41-yard field goal to give Atlanta a 13-point cushion
with 46 seconds remaining in the period. Despite Tampa Bay muffing the ensuing
kickoff, Micheal Spurlock scooped up the loose ball and ran 89 yards to make
The Buccaneers than recovered an onside kick. However, Atlanta head coach Mike
Smith challenged the play and the official ruled the ball was illegally
The Falcons eventually punted the ball back to Tampa Bay, and Freeman
converted a 3rd-and-13 from his own one by hitting a streaking Spurlock down
the right sideline for a 43-yard completion. Two plays later, Atlanta's Brent
Grimes came away with an interception at midfield.
Tampa Bay got the ball back at its own nine-yard line with 10:05 to play in
Already boasting six fourth-quarter comebacks for his young career, Freeman
nearly authored a seventh. Carnell Williams ran seven yards on 3rd-and-2 and
Freeman found Mike Williams for an 11-yard gain on another third down. A
defensive pass interference penalty spotted the ball at the Atlanta 11. Three
straight runs -- two by LeGarrette Blount -- left Tampa Bay staring at a 4th-
Confusion over what play to run forced Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris to
use his final timeout with 2:44 remaining. The Falcons then stopped Blount for
no gain. Blount felt he had picked up the first down, but with no timeouts
left, it became a moot point because Morris couldn't challenge the ruling on
"Every man in that locker room gave us a chance to try to go out there and win
that football game today. And I'm proud of that effort," Morris said.
Atlanta scored on the game's opening possession, going 61 yards in 13
plays. Facing a 4th-and-2 at the Tampa Bay 34, Ryan completed a four-yard toss
to Jason Snelling to move the chains. Turner capped the drive with four
consecutive runs, the last a two-yard dash into the end zone.
"We wanted to be very aggressive in what we did," Smith said on the opening
drive. "We went right through our script. It was about as clean of a first
drive that I've ever been involved with."
The Falcons began their next series deep in their own territory after Robert
Malone's punt pinned them at the one-yard line. Atlanta, though, converted two
third downs on an epic march that Turner finished off with a 10-yard touchdown
run less than two minutes into the second quarter.
A 66-yard return by Spurlock on the ensuing kickoff set up a 14-yard touchdown
pass from Freeman to Arrelious Benn.
Atlanta extended its lead to 17-7 on Bryant's 31-yard trifecta, but the
Buccaneers answered with a seven-play, 90-yard drive. Freeman hit Mike
Williams on a slant route for a 58-yard score to draw Tampa Bay within three
with 2:06 remaining before halftime.
Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez had 72 yards on eight receptions, while
Falcons wide receiver Roddy White caught four passes for 49 yards. White
suffered a knee injury late in the first quarter, but returned to the field
after halftime...Freeman, who completed 11 of his 22 pass attempts, had not
thrown an interception in three straight games...The Buccaneers were 8-of-13
on third downs...Tampa Bay had won five straight road games dating back to
11/07 18:40:31 ET