The Atlanta Falcons took advantage of an early Tampa Bay Buccaneer turnover on Sunday afternoon and then had a great performance from Matt Ryan to end their 3-game losing streak and started a new winning streak moving to 2-4 on the season. The Bucs, who handed quarterback Mike Glennon only his third start, remain winless on the season with an 0-6 record.
After the longest losing streak in Mike Smith’s tenure in Atlanta, the playoffs have looked increasingly distant for the team that hosted the NFC Championship last season. So this game was a “must win” for the Falcons if they wanted to revitalize their 2013 season.
The game could not have started any better for the Falcons. On the Bucs first drive Falcons Safety William Moore sacked Buc QB Mike Glennon who fumbled the ball. Thomas DeCoud recovered and ran the ball back 30 yards for the TD.
After that start, Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing offense took over. Ryan had a 20 for 26 day for 273 yards, 3 touchdowns and a career-high 148.4 quarterback rating.
Without Steven Jackson at running back and Julio Jones and Roddy White at Wide Receiver it might have been a fair assessment to suggest that first ballot hall of famer Tony Gonzalez might have been the offensive focus but it wasn’t the case, Gonzalez had only two receptions on the day.
Ryan’s favorite target was Harry Douglas who had a career day himself with seven receptions for a career-high 149 yards and a touchdown. Jacquizz Rodgers was the other productive receiver with 8 receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns.
Coach Mike Smith was particularly complimentary of Douglas’ performance, “Harry had a career day. Everybody’s role changes in the NFL. Harry’s role changed two weeks ago because of our situation at wide receiver. He stepped up to the plate and did an extremely good job today. Harry is a very good wide receiver; he just hasn’t had an opportunity to be the number one receiver, and he was the number one receiver in the game today.”
Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon had a good day, despite his relative inexperience, going 26 of 44 for 256 yards and 2 TD’s.
Bucs Head Coach Greg Schiano was complimentary of his young quarterback, “I think Mike’s played really good football. You say, ‘for a rookie,’ but if you look at what he’s done, he’s doing a good job. Yesterday, one play: the sack-fumble on that third down. I think he was wise with the ball. He distributed it where he was supposed to. He read his keys and delivered the ball. I think he’s doing a really good job.”
Up next for the Falcons is a roadtrip to Arizona to take on the Cardinals on Sunday while Tampa Bay hosts the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.