The Atlanta Falcons sprinted south to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A victory today for the Falcons would be most appreciated not only by the players and the coaching staff but also by the fans. First ever back-to-back seasons win! That was the goal.
Televised by Fox, the Buccaneers’ kickoff was returned by wide receiver Eric Weems, who was tackled. Falcons head coach Mike Smith challenged that the Buccaneers recovered a live ball. Atlanta lost the challenge. Tampa Bay scored soon with a field goal. On Weems’s second return effort, he was brought down at the twenty-yard line. The Falcons did not score. Tampa Bay 3 and Atlanta 0.
The second quarter started with a pretty strong Falcons offensive drive. Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris lost a challenge as to where Falcons running back Jerious Norwood caught quarterback Matt Ryan’s pass. Tampa Bay’s defense responded very strongly as well. Matt Ryan threw an interception into Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber’s arms. Luckily for the Falcons, a holding penalty on Tampa Bay gave them a first down. Buccaneers fans booed. The Falcons got a field goal out of it. On their next possession, tight end Justin Peelle made a TD catch just inside the end zone. Atlanta 10 and Tampa Bay 3.
Watch me watching that play:
The third quarter chugged a few minutes and Matt Ryan intercepted by safety Tanard Jackson. WHAT THE PORK TENDERLOINS?!! Did I spy a male, sunglasses-wearing Tampa Bay fan IN A SNUGGIE in the replay of cornerback Aqib Talib knocking down the ball before Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins could catch it in the end zone?
The Buccaneers demonstrated an energized offense in the fourth quarter. They tied the game with a TD connection between quarterback Josh Freeman and wide receiver Antonio Bryant. Matt Ryan’s pass was plucked by Buccaneers safety Sabby Piscitelli five minutes into the quarter. Falcons cornerback Chris Owens responded by intercepting Freeman’s first pass after the turnover. Falcons running back Jason Snelling carried the ball twenty-two important yards down the field. Halfway through the fourth quarter, Falcons Roddy White caught the ball far enough away from Aqib Talib, realized he was still in bounds and made his way into the end zone for a touchdown. Atlanta 17 and Tampa Bay 10. Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted Freeman in the bottom of the fourth quarter. Sixty seconds left in the game and Matt Bryant made a thirty-six yard field goal. Atlanta 20 and Tampa Bay 10. Final score. Consecutive seasons losing streak is over.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Commentary was provided by Dick Stockton and Charles Davis.
2. The stadium was filled with red.
3. Interesting Volkswagen Sign Then Drive commercial that aired twice in the middle of the first quarter. A heterosexual couple buys a vehicle from a male, brown-haired sales rep. When the couple is standing inside the dealership, the woman appears to be Asian and the man of Mediterranean descent. When they get inside the car, however, they become ethnically ambiguous. I don’t remember the last time a car commercial featured a couple whose ethnicity wasn’t ostensibly obvious and the same.
4. There was a minor shove-and-shove back between a Buccaneer and a Falcon in the middle of the first quarter after Atlanta punted the ball to Tampa Bay.
5. Falcons owner Arthur Blank was featured in a close-up on the sidelines.
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