Falcons rally in Tampa

Six-game winning streak gives Atlanta NFL-best 10 wins

TAMPA, Fla. --- Matty Ice came to the rescue again.


Matt Ryan threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins with 4:31 remaining as the Atlanta Falcons put together another fourth-quarter rally to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-24 on Sunday for their sixth consecutive victory.

Eric Weems got the comeback from a 10-point deficit started by scoring on a 102-yard kickoff return. Brent Grimes sealed the win with an interception that stopped Tampa Bay's final possession deep in Falcons territory.

Ryan led his sixth fourth-quarter, game-winning drive of the season for the NFC South leaders, keeping the 10-play, 67-yard march alive with a 25-yard completion to Roddy White on third-and-20. The Falcons (10-2) also benefited from a couple of costly penalties on the Bucs.

Rookie LeGarrette Blount rushed for 103 yards and fullback Earnest Graham threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to John Gilmore for Tampa Bay (7-5), which fell to 0-5 against teams with winning records.

Ryan completed 18 of 36 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, overcoming two interceptions -- Atlanta's first turnovers in five games.

The third-year pro threw a 17-yard TD pass to Ovie Mughelli in the second quarter. Michael Turner rushed for 88 yards for the Falcons and scored on a 5-yard run that gave Atlanta an early 7-0 lead.

Josh Freeman was 19 of 38 for 181 yards and one touchdown for the third-place Bucs, who fell three games behind Atlanta in the NFC South. Grimes intercepted him for the second time this season, and had an earlier pick taken away by instant replay.

The Bucs wore orange throwback jerseys from their expansion days in the late 1970's, and the team's first coach, John McKay, was inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor at halftime. McKay's son, Rich, is the Falcons president and was Tampa Bay's general manager when the club won its only Super Bowl title eight years ago.

Atlanta had gone a franchise-record four consecutive weeks without a turnover before Ryan overthrew intended receiver Tony Gonzalez and safety Sean Jones returned his first interception of the season 31 yards to the Atlanta 30-yard line to change the momentum of the game.

Seven plays later, Freeman's 1-yard TD throw to Williams tied it at 14 with 15 seconds left before halftime.

The Falcons have won five in a row in the intense division rivalry, with four of the games decided by six points or less. Atlanta won an earlier meeting this season 27-21 when Blount was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Falcons 2 with just under 2 minutes to go.



Wed, 11/22/2017 - 00:22


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