The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons ground the axe the day after UGA out-played GaTech by one touchdown. Televised by Fox, with commentary by Dick Stockton and Charles Davis, the first quarter commenced with the Falcons on offense. First pass from quarterback Matt Ryan? a would-be interception. Running back Michael Turner was back in the game after resting last week. No Falcons pointage resulted from the first go. When the Falcons went on offense again, Chris Redman stepped in as quarterback on account of a foot injury on Ryan. His second throw was complete to tight end Tony Gonzalez (wow, that play elapsed very slowly even in real-time). The Falcons had to punt the ball away but due to an off-sides penalty on the Buccaneers, the Falcons got the ball back. The first quarter ended with no score for either team.
Chris Redman continued as quarterback in the second quarter. Three minutes into the quarter, Matt Ryan went into the locker rooms. Kicker Jason Elam broke the 0-0 of the scoreboard with a field goal. About halfway through the second quarter, Falcons running back Jerious Norwood proved, with an eighteen-yard run, just how much his five-game absence impacted his team. A few plays later, Redman’s shovel pass to Norwood led to a touchdown. Atlanta 10 and Tampa Bay 0. When the Buccaneers went on offense, quarterback Josh Freeman threw a forty-two yard TD pass to wide receiver Antonio Bryant. The Buccaneers tied the score with a field goal with half a minute left in the second quarter. Atlanta 10 and Tampa Bay 10.
The third quarter did not march off too well for the Falcons. A punt was blocked, the Buccaneers got amazing field position and churned out a TD (via running back Carnell Williams). Tampa Bay 17 and Atlanta 10. Michael Turner made a pretty good run but had to step off the field shortly thereafter due to a right leg misfortune. Jason Elam narrowed the score deficit by three halfway through the third quarter. Tampa Bay 17 and Atlanta 13. The Falcons were going strong in the bottom of the quarter when running back Jason Snelling lost control of the ball.
And then there was a fourth quarter…my eyes remained averted from the screen, afeared to see what wouldn’t feel so bad just to hear. Can I even smile that that Tony Gonzalez caught Redman’s pass in the second half of the fourth quarter (with Buccaneer safety Tanard Jackson covering him)? A forty+ yard FG was tried and failed. Fortunately for the Falcons, the Buccaneers missed a field goal attempt in the bottom of the fourth quarter. How would the Falcons perform with likely their last dance with the ball? Thirty seconds left in the game. One more chance. Chris Redman to wide receiver Roddy White complete! It’s a touchdown! Atlanta 20 and Tampa Bay 17. Final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. The Falcons wore black jerseys and red helmets.
2. Halfway through the fourth quarter, footage of Matt Ryan standing on the sidelines (out of uniform) was aired. In a medium close-up, Ryan wore an expression of bewilderment and disbelief. When he was shown walking around the sidelines in the bottom of the fourth quarter, shock had turned to discontentment. His frown was turned upside down after Redman and White connected for a TD. Arthur Blank was all smiles and thumbs up too.
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