1:00 p.m. ET
Key Coaching Decision #1 (TB ball, trailing 24-22 / 2-point conversation att / 11:40 Q4)
• After a Tampa touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to Chris Godwin, the score was 24-22. The Bucs attempted a 2-point conversation that was not successful. We feel with the majority of the fourth quarter left to play, the smart decision was to kick the extra point and close the gap to one point.
Key Coaching Decision #2 (ATL ball, leading 31-29 / fourth-and-2, TB 39 / 1:15 Q4)
• Instead of going on fourth down, Dan Quinn decided to attempt a 57-yard field goal with his former Pro Bowl kicker. Matt Bryant made the kick and it extended Atlanta’s lead to five points. The Bucs drove into the red zone with 12 seconds remaining and needed a touchdown instead of a field goal for the win. Tampa tried a last-ditch lateral that bounced out of bounds to preserve the win for Atlanta.
• Had the Falcons tried for that fourth-down conversion and failed, the Bucs could have won the game with a field goal.
• Matt Ryan played a great game, passing for over 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different receivers; his main target being Julio Jones, who finished with 10 catches for 143 yards.
• Devonta Freeman sat out the game with a foot injury, which opened the door for fourth-round pick Ito Smith to again play a big role in the Atlanta offense. He scored a touchdown for the third consecutive game and is enjoying a productive rookie season.
• With a pair of explosive offenses and a couple of struggling defenses, the game produced the high-scoring contest that many experts predicted. The teams combined for 63 points and almost 1,000 yards of offensive.
• Jameis Winston, in his first game back from suspension, did have two interceptions but overall played well and threw for nearly 400 yards in his return.
• Peyton Barber was very impressive, rushing for over 80 yards and catching four passes, including a touchdown. Barber is a violent runner who is tough to bring down. The Bucs averaged over six yards a carry, but only called 20 running plays against a banged-up Atlanta defense.