Falcons stumble against Bucs
Byron Leftwich got the start after missing the past two games, but struggled as he completed 15 of 28 passes for 106 yards with 2 interceptions. He was replaced by Joey Harrington with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter, but he was not much of an improvement. Harrington completed 16 of 20 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown late to prevent the shutout. Warrick Dunn led rushers with 32 yards on 15 carries (2.1 avg) and also caught 8 passes for 40 yards. Michael Jenkins led receivers with 73 yards on 9 catches (8.1 avg). Adam Jennings caught the team’s only score, which was a 7-yard score with little more than a minute to go in the game. He finished the game with 2 catches for 11 yards. Roddy White (4 catches for 28 yards) and Alge Crumpler (3 catches for 28 yards) also contributed. The Falcons offense under Leftwich was only able to convert 1 of 10 third down tries.
Defensively, the Falcons were not much better. They were fairly solid in the first half, only allowing 7 offensive points for the Bucs and the Bucs did not convert any of their 4 third down attempts. But could not hold them in the second half giving up 17 points and allowing the Bucs to convert 50% of their 6 third down tries. Keith Brooking led the team with 8 tackles and also added a fumble recovery. Michael Boley (7 tackles), Jonathan Babineaux (5 tackles), John Abraham (2 tackles, 1 sack), and Chris Houston (2 tackles, 1 forced fumble) had noteworthy games.
On special teams, the Falcons had seven points negated by a holding penalty on Stephen Nicholas after Jerious Norwood took a kickoff 87 yards. Norwood finished the game with 5 kickoffs for an average of 22 yards. On punt returns, Adam Jennings had 3 returns for 14 yards. Michael Koenen had 7 punts for an average of 36.7 yards with 4 being put inside the 20-yard line. The Falcons also had a season-high 11 penalties against them.
The Falcons will host the Indianapolis Colts (8-2) this upcoming Thursday on Thanksgiving Day. It marks the Falcons second Thanksgiving game. They defeated the Detroit Lions in 2005. The Colts have an all-time record of 1-0-1 on Thanksgiving, their last game coming in a 41-9 beating of the Lions in 2004.