The Falcons put a beatdown on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winning 45-24, but went up 42 points in the first half before the Bucs finally got on the board. The Falcons finish the year 10-6 and will earn the fifth seed in NFC playoffs, and will be set to play the winner of tonight’s New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game in the opening round of the playoffs.
Matt Ryan led the way, going 6 of 9 for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns before getting pulled late in the second quarter. Ryan finishes the year with 4,177 yards, the most ever for a Falcons passer and also had 29 touchdowns, the third highest total and his own career high. Chris Redman subbed in and passed for 71 yards, while completing 7 of 12 pass attempts. He also had an interception. Michael Turner led rushers with 172 yards on 17 carries and 2 scores. He finishes the year with 1,340 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Jacquizz Rodgers added 8 carries for 24 yards and a touchdown and Jason Snelling had 9 carries for 50 yards. Julio Jones and Roddy White both had 4 catches for 76 and 69 yards, respectively. Jones scored twice. He finishes his rookie year with 959 yards, the most ever for a Falcons rookie. White becomes the first Falcon receiver to ever have two 100-catch seasons, as he finished the year with 100 catches on the nose for 1,296 yards. Tony Gonzalez only had one catch for 8 yards. Matt Bryant connected on his lone field goal attempt from 20 yards. Matt Bosher had 2 punts for an average of 50.5 yards. Eric Weems had a single punt return for 9 yards and no kickoff returns. The Falcons offense rolled over the Bucs, particularly in the first half where they converted 5 of 6 third down attempts and gained 319 total yards, including 186 on the ground.
On defense the Falcons stymied the Bucs offense in the first half, forcing three turnovers and only allowing 98 total yards. With their pedal off the gas after building a 35-point halftime lead the defense did allow 17 second half points and 177 passing yards. Curtis Lofton led the team with 14 tackles and an interception which he returned for a score. John Abraham (1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery); Kroy Biermann (3 tackles, 0.5 sacks); Thomas DeCoud (8 tackles, 1 pass defended); Dominique Franks (5 tackles, 1 interception); William Moore (6 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble); Chris Owens (5 tackles, 1 pass defended); Darrin Walls (1 interception); and Sean Weatherspoon (5 tackles) had noteworthy games. Lofton’s production pushes his tackle total to 147 for the year, a career high for him. Weatherspoon finishes the year 113, a career high for him as well. Abraham finishes the year with 9.5 sacks, for the team lead.