Bucs bottle up Falcons

AP The Falcons lost on the road to division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 24-9. The Falcons were able to rally late in the game to come within a score, but were unable to overcome their early 17-0 deficit.

Matt Ryan struggled in his second NFL outing, completing 13 of 33 passes for 158 yards and 2 interceptions. Although he did improve his play in the second half, completing 10 of 18 passes for 122 yards. On the ground, the Falcons did not repeat their Week 1 success. Michael Turner led with 42 yards on 14 carries. Roddy White and Laurent Robinson led receivers with 4 catches each for 59 and 45 yards, respectively. Harry Douglas contributed 2 catches for 34 yards as well as having 1 rushing attempt for 33 yards. Ryan was pressured throughout the game and was sacked 4 times.

The Falcons defensively had some issues, although for the most part they kept the Bucs offense in check, not allowing a Tampa score in the second half until late in the fourth quarter. However, a 68-yard scamper by Earnest Graham with 3 minutes left in the game sealed any chance of a comeback. Lawyer Milloy and Curtis Lofton led the team with 8 tackles each. Keith Brooking (7 tackles), Jamaal Anderson (6 tackles), Jonathan Babineaux (3 tackles, 1 sack), John Abraham (1 tackle, 1 sack), Michael Boley (4 tackles), and Erik Coleman (5 tackles) had notable performances.

On special teams, Jason Elam was perfect on three field goal attempts of 32, 27, and 24 yards. Michael Koenen had 5 punts for an average of 36.2 yards with 2 placed inside the 20-yard line. Adam Jennings averaged 14.3 yards on 3 punt returns, while Jerious Norwood averaged 21 yards on 4 kickoffs.

The Falcons hope they can bounce back next week against the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2). The last time the Falcons faced the Chiefs was a loss in 2004. The Chiefs lead the all-time series 5-1. The Falcons lone win against the Chiefs came in 2000.

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Aaron Freeman
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