Break Out The Broom

December 2nd, 2021

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The Bucs return to the scene of the heist Sunday, hoping for a far smoother getaway.

Buc fans have seen more than their share of dreadful football since 2009, but last year’s opening half at Atlanta ranks near the top of the stinker list — considering who was under center.

Tampa Bay was 8-5, coming off a post-bye week victory, when the Bucs traveled to Atlanta to face the 4-9 Falcons. On paper, the matchup looked like an easy win for the visitors, but only one team showed up for the first 30 minutes.

It was 17-0 Falcons at the half, and it could have been worse. They outgained the Bucs 261-60 and Matt Ryan had enough time to order a couple of hot dogs from the ushers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

It was awful. It was ugly. It was inexcusable.

While Ryan was shredding the Bucs for 235 yards, Tom Brady’s offense punted on its first four possessions. While Tampa Bay’s defense had no answers for Calvin Ridley, Brady’s passes were skipping off the turf.

Even when the Bucs opened the second half with a score, Atlanta answered with a 75-yard TD drive of its own to go up 24-7.

At that point, even Bruce Arians figured this was Atlanta’s day.

Not quite.

The Bucs ended up scoring 31 points on their first five possessions of the second half. Brady threw for 320 yards in the final 30 minutes and Devin White added two sacks in the final six minutes en route to an improbable 31-27 triumph.

For Derrick Brooks, that second-half at Atlanta proved to be the turning point of a championship season. Brady proved to new teammates that no deficit was too large for his chosen team to overcome.

A year later, the Bucs are 10-point favorites against the defenseless Falcons. If Tampa Bay brings proper intensity and focus to this matchup, the NFC South crown will be virtually wrapped up with five regular-season games remaining.

Looking for an easier repeat in Atlanta

It’s hard to make a compelling case for the 5-6 Falcons, whose only home win came against the hapless Jets. Atlanta is being outscored by an average margin of nine points per game. That’s a huge gap in a league that prides itself on close games every weekend.

The defense has five interceptions and 15 sacks and the Falcons are minus-7 in turnover ratio, compared to plus-8 for the Bucs.

Julio Jones is gone and Ridley is sidelined with mental health issues, leaving Ryan to soldier on. Rookie Kyle Pitts looks like a keeper and versatile Cordarrelle Patterson has been very productive.

So much for Atlanta’s virtues. Meanwhile, the Bucs may get more healthy bodies back.

The stirring rally at Indianapolis won’t mean a thing if the Bucs drop the ball Sunday. The Falcons played them tough through three quarters in Week 2 at Tampa, trailing only 28-25 as Patterson scored twice before Ryan threw a pair of pick-6s to Mike Edwards.

When the Bucs don’t have their minds right on the road this season, they get beat. They showed mental toughness at Indy and Arians is beating the drum for the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. There’s no excuse for coming out flat again in Atlanta, with these division rivals tied 28-28 in the all-time series.

The Falcons are down and out. Their fans are already looking ahead to the 2022 draft. It’s time for another season sweep.

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11 Responses to “Break Out The Broom”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    Patterson & Pitts are enough to beat us if we play stupid football again & have special teams breakdowns again. This year has been strange for every team

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    Not so fast Ira! Put the broom back in the closet.
    We cannot overlook our opponents ANY week. We need to play a solid, mistake-free game.

  3. JimBuc2 Says:

    When Rich McKay jumped the Pirate Ship for Flowery Branch I loathed him. Monday he was our GM; Sunday he watched from the visitors suite as his new team throttled the Bucs. Grrr… traitor. Now, all these years later it is just so sweet. Clearly this is the last rodeo for Matty Ice, who was foolishly signed way past his sell by date. Good call Rich, can you say 28-3? Guess who’s coming to dinner? That’s right, your favorite guest, Mr. seven rings; Tom Brady and his new BFF Playoff Kenny. See ya, don’t wanna be ya!
    Go Bucs!

  4. Tampaabaybucfan Says:

    It’s amazing how good the Bucs have become and how poor the Falcons are….they have many holes to fill……
    They may have Pitts & Patterson……but our offense is too strong for them….
    Bucs cover the spread.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs can’t afford to look past ANY opponent, just like Bucsfanman says. Falcons are almost playing .500 ball so they’re not all THAT bad. What’s interesting to me is that they’ve been blown out in 3 games this season: (1) Eagle trounced them 32-6; (2) Cowboys whomped them 43-3; and (3) Patriots shut them out 25-0. That’s being outscored 103-9 in only 3 games. All 3 teams dominated the TOP by running the ball, and 2 of those generated a lot of turnovers in the process (just like we did in our 1st meetup this season).

    Falcons obviously don’t match up well against teams who like to run the ball AND do it well. Philly ran it 31 times for 173 yds. Cowboys ran it 37 times for 114 yds. Pats ran it 30 times for 134 yds. All 3 also mixed in a ton of short passing & dominated the TOP in the process. Very different from our first meeting with the Falcons, but similar to our approach to the Indy game. Bucs have got this.

  6. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If the Bucs lose this game, everyone- fans, media, maybe even coaching staff, will lose all confidence in them.
    Bucs will win big.

  7. D-Rome Says:

    I’ll be at the game!

  8. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Stop the run . Make the offense one dimensional. Pin your ears back and get after Ryan. Run the damn ball. Winning recipe equals Bucs 41 Chickens 17.

  9. Rob In Land O Lakes Says:

    Figure out 3rd down before Matt Ryan does.

  10. Buczilla Says:

    From a football perspective I despise the falcons and their fans. On a personal level, I truly feel sorry for their fans after their loss to Brady in the super bowl. I’d probably need some therapy if that had happened to our team. I mean, we’ve had some horrific moments as Buc’s fans, but choking like that, after being up by so many points?!? Hooboy, that’s some hellish stuff man. 😛

  11. Ben the GA Buc Says:

    I’ll be at the game also!