- Atlanta seems to be finding a rhythm under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkissian. They were criticized early in the season for relying on too much misdirection and gadget plays, but they seem to be executing these types of plays with a much greater degree of success, and the offense in general seems to be operating with a rhythm.
- Tampa Bay struggled to contain WR Julio Jones through the entire game. Opponents usually double or triple team him, but the Buccaneers were not able to game plan or adjust to slow him down at all.
- A key coaching decision came with 7:00 left in the game. Tampa Bay was down seven points facing a 4th & 1 on the Atlanta 18-yard line. They elected to go for it, which we can understand given the explosiveness of Atlanta’s offense, but the play call itself was questionable. Instead of running the ball or looking for a short pass play, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick did a full five step drop and tried to complete an intermediate pass over the middle to his tight end. The tight end was well covered and the play didn’t have a shot. Given the success of Atlanta’s defense through most of the day, it seemed like this would be a low success rate play to begin with, so we’re not sure why they would call this instead of a more conservative short pass play on such a crucial down.
- Nice game clock management and execution by Atlanta to run the 4-minute offense at the end of the game, rely heavily on the run game while burning clock, and eventually add to their seven point lead with another touchdown and put the game on ice.