There’s just one crew the Atlanta Falcons should be involved about the remainder of the way in which.
The defending NFC champions path division rivals New Orleans and Carolina by one sport with two weeks remaining within the common season. But when the Falcons (9-5) beat the Saints (10-Four) and Panthers (10-Four), they win the NFC South once more . One victory within the last two video games ensures Atlanta a playoff berth.
“We’re proper the place we should be at this level of the season,” quarterback Matt Ryan mentioned after Monday evening’s 24-21 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . “We have to discover a technique to get again to work this week, attempt to enhance and ensure we play the very best we’re able to taking part in this Sunday.”
“That is actually all our focus must be about,” he added. “If we’re apprehensive about the rest then you definitely’re not as locked in as you want to be.”
Devonta Freeman had 194 yards from scrimmage – speeding for 126 on 22 carries and catching 5 passes for a team-high 68 yards – to tempo Atlanta’s fifth victory in six video games, which eradicated Inexperienced Bay from playoff competition.
Ryan threw for 212 yards, a landing and no interceptions.
“Cannot assume too far into the long run. At all times concentrate on what we have subsequent,” Falcons security Keanu Neal mentioned. “Look too far forward, you lose sight of the current.”
Freeman’s 32-yard TD run gave Atlanta a 10-point lead that the protection practically let slip away over the ultimate eight minutes.
The 5-foot-6, 206-pound working again saved pounding away on the Bucs protection till lastly discovering his method into the open area, darting via a gaping gap on the proper facet earlier than slicing again to elude the one defender with a shot at tackling him on his technique to the tip zone.
“We had a way this is able to be an enormous evening for him. We talked about that earlier than the sport,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn mentioned. “We thought he would have his alternatives. If he might get to the following stage and to a linebacker or security or nook, be certain he had a plan how he needed to complete.”
With Freeman’s sidekick, Tevin Coleman, out with a concussion, third-string working again Terron Ward shared the speeding load with the two-time 1,000-yard rusher.
“I noticed him hit the sideline. And, Free one-on-one with anybody within the open area, I am taking Free,” Ward mentioned.
Some issues to learn about Falcons-Buccaneers:
Jameis Winston had his sharpest efficiency of the season for the Bucs (Four-10), who’ve misplaced 9 of 11 following a 2-1 begin.
The third-year professional accomplished 27 of 35 passes for 299 yards and three TDs with no turnovers. He had TD passes of 30 yards to O.J. Howard, 42 yards to Mike Evans and 16 yards to Adam Humphries, the latter pulling Tampa Bay to 24-21 with 4 minutes remaining.
The Bucs acquired the ball again with a minute left. Winston accomplished three passes, transferring them into place to permit Patrick Murray to strive a 54-yard area objective that sailed extensive proper on the ultimate play.
“I feel that is Jameis Winston at his greatest,” coach Dirk Koetter mentioned. “We have seen him at his greatest for elements of a number of video games, however this was most likely his greatest and most full sport.”
Falcons extensive receiver Julio Jones had a monster sport towards the Bucs three weeks in the past with 12 receptions for 253 yards and two TDs in a 34-20 win at Atlanta. Tampa Bay knew it wanted to do a greater job towards him to have any probability this time.
Ryan focused the star receiver eight occasions Monday evening, however Jones solely had three catches for 54 yards.
The Falcons offset the drop in manufacturing, ending with 201 yards speeding.
RING OF HONOR
Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who has spent the previous 9 seasons as ESPN’s sport analyst on Monday Night time Soccer, was inducted into the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium throughout a halftime ceremony.
Gruden was acquired from the Oakland Raiders for 2 first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks and $eight million earlier than main the 2002 Bucs to the membership’s solely Tremendous Bowl championship in his first season in Tampa Bay.
Gruden was fired after the 2008 season and moved into the printed sales space the next yr. The Bucs have not made the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t got a postseason win since their Tremendous Bowl run 15 years in the past.