The glory from last week’s victory over Detroit did not help Atlanta in their game against division rival Tampa Bay. Turnovers and strong defense by the Bucs held Atlanta to 234 total yards.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan (13/33, 158 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs) had a hard time completing his passes to his receivers for most of the first half. He had two interceptions and went 0 for 9 before making his first completion to WR Roddy White with less than six and a half minutes to go in the second quarter. The Falcons only score of the first half was a Jason Elam 32-yard field goal with 12 seconds to go before halftime, making the score Tampa Bay 17 and Atlanta 3.
Tampa Bay QB Brian Griese (18/31, 160 yards, 1 TD) started in place of Jeff Garcia and scored a touchdown on his first drive of the game with a short pass to TE John Gilmore. The Bucs were able to score again early in the second quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run by RB Warrick Dunn and a 39-yard field goal on their next possession.
The Falcons were able to put their best drive of the game together midway through the third quarter with a 13 play drive that gave them their second field goal of the day from 27 yards. DE John Abraham then sacked Griese on the next possession, forcing a fumble that was recovered by DT Jason Jefferson in the fourth quarter setting up their next long drive and their third field goal from 24 yards. Ryan was sacked twice on the Falcons last drive of the game and they turned the ball over on downs with two and a half minutes to go. RB Michael Turner finished the day with 42 rushing yards on 14 attempts. White led all receivers with 59 yards.
Tampa’s lone score in the second half was an Earnest Graham 68-yard touchdown run with about three minutes to go in the game. RB Graham finished the day with 116 yards.
Next week, the Falcons will host the Kansas City Chiefs who have lost their first two games of the season.