The Atlanta Falcons were able to cruise to a 31-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers thanks to another great game by Matt Ryan, and excellent performances by Jacquizz Rodgers and Harry Douglas.
Ryan continued his excellent 2013 campaign by throwing for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He was 20-26 through the air, and ended the game with a 148.8 passer rating, which was the highest mark of his career. However, with Julio Jones and Roddy White both out of the game, Ryan had to find some different targets.
Rodgers and Douglas filled in wonderfully. Douglas was targeted seven times and hauled in seven catches for 149 yards and a touchdown–far and away his best game in the league so far. Rodgers was targeted nine times and came away with eight receptions and two touchdowns. He only managed 46 yards through the air, but the two scores he had were enough to make him a game changer in the passing game.
Tony Gonzalez had a quiet day for Atlanta, only making two catches for 30 yards. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only thing that was quiet for the Falcons… as their rushing attack was, again, stagnant. The team finished the game with just 18 yards on the ground on 18 total rushing attempts. For those who weren’t math majors, that’s an abysmal one yard per rush. a.k.a., not good.
The defense did well to hold the Buccaneers to just two touchdowns on the entire day, and safeties William Moore and Thomas DeCoud set the tempo extremely early for the Falcons. Moore sacked Mike Glennon on Tampa Bay’s first possession of the game, and forced a fumble that DeCoud would pick up and take back 30 yards for a touchdown. Moore had a particularly good game for Atlanta (and really, the only standout performance on that side of the ball), causing trouble all over the field and ending the game with six solo tackles (tying for the team high with Desmond Trufant and Joplo Bartu).
It wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing victory (as the final score partially indicates), but the Falcons held on for dear life to secure a crucial win. Now at 2-4 on the year, Atlanta isn’t out of the picture just yet, and the next few weeks will determine the team’s future destiny with regard to the playoffs. Stay tuned.