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Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick & Prediction JAN 3TH 2021

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Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Recap JAN 3TH 2021

Deion Jones returned a Jameis Winston interception 27 yards for the game-winning touchdown on the first play of overtime to give the visiting Atlanta Falcons the 28-22 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's regular-season finale.

Atlanta's Matt Ryan finished 30 of 51 for 301 yards and one touchdown, while kicker Younghoe Koo was 5-for-5 on field goals for the Falcons (7-9).

Atlanta opened the scoring with a trick play. Offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo checked in as an eligible receiver, and the Buccaneers (7-9) did not adjust correctly, as Ryan found Sambrailo for a 35-yard touchdown up the seam. It was the longest touchdown reception by an offensive lineman since at least 1950.

A field goal from Koo put the Falcons up 10-0 after the first quarter, but the Buccaneers started the second quarter by finishing a nine-play, 67-yard drive for a 2-yard Cameron Brate touchdown reception.

Koo nailed a field goal on the next possession, and then Winston threw an interception that put the Falcons in the red zone. But Jason Pierre-Paul strip-sacked Ryan, and Devin White returned it 91 yards for a touchdown.

The score put the Tampa Bay ahead for the first time in the game, 14-13, and was the longest fumble return in Buccaneers history.

Koo hit his third field goal with about a minute left, but Winston quickly drove Tampa Bay down the field. With 20 seconds left at the Atlanta 24, Winston was flushed out of the pocket and threw a prayer into the back of the end zone. Breshad Perriman came down with the ball for the score, giving the Bucs a 22-16 halftime lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, Koo kicked his fourth field goal with 6:32 left in regulation to cut the Tampa Bay lead to 22-19. Koo then kicked another field goal as time expired -- capping a 65-yard drive -- to send the game into overtime.

Winston finished 13 of 24 for 201 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Tampa Bay. With the performance, he became the eighth player in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season.

He also became the first player to finish a season with at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, and set an NFL record for pick-sixes in a season with seven.

Matt Gay was 0-for-3 on field goals for Tampa Bay, missing from 49, 44 and 34 yards.

--Field Level Media

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, but coach Bruce Arians still has a major task at the forefront of his mind.

Arians not only wants to close the regular season with a victory in Sunday's game against the visiting Atlanta Falcons, but he also wants to see Mike Evans' name standing alone in the record books.

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Evans needs 40 receiving yards against the Falcons (4-11) to become the first player in NFL history to reach 1,000 in each of his first seven NFL seasons. Evans shares the current mark of six with Hall of Famer Randy Moss.

"I desperately want that to happen," Arians said. "Whatever he needs or whatever he has left -- I'm sure Atlanta's not going to want to give it to him, so we'll have to find some creative ways to get it for him."

There were certainly times when it looked like there wasn't much of a chance of the streak being extended.

Evans, 27, was bothered by a hamstring injury at the outset of the campaign and later suffered an ankle injury. He had just 2 receiving yards -- yes 2 -- in both Weeks 1 and 3.

When he had just 10 yards in Week 6, Evans' total was at 281. Even in mid-December, he had just 669 yards with three games left.

But Evans heated up quickly. He had 110 yards in Week 15 when the Buccaneers (10-5) defeated the Falcons 31-17, and had his top outing of the campaign on Dec. 26 when he had 10 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-7 rout of the Detroit Lions.

And just like that, Evans' total sits at 960 as he closes in on the record.

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"Early in the season, I was hurt really bad," Evans said. "But it's my job to play, like I always say. It just feels good. I'm getting back on track and getting healthier."

Despite the slow start, Evans has 67 receptions and a franchise-record 13 touchdown catches, breaking the mark he set in 2014 and 2016.

Evans meshes well with Tom Brady as the quarterback has set a franchise mark with 36 touchdown passes while throwing for 4,234 yards and 11 interceptions.

The Buccaneers are also hoping to have running back Ronald Jones II (900 rushing yards) back on the field. Jones came off the reserve/COVID-19 list but still is dealing with a fractured pinkie. He was limited in practice Wednesday, as was cornerback Carlton Davis (groin) and linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (knee).

While Tampa Bay is seeking a fourth straight victory, the Falcons are hoping to avoid a fifth straight loss.

In fact, Atlanta fans won't be overly crushed with another loss as many are consumed with the 2021 draft order. Only two teams -- the New York Jets (2-13) and Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14) -- have fewer victories than the Falcons.

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"Our fan base is very knowledgeable and that's their job to cheer for those types of things, but our job is to go out and win football games," interim head coach Raheem Morris said. "We really love those guys, we really love Atlanta, we love everything we stand for, and when that time comes we'll address those accordingly."

Morris replaced Dan Quinn after the team's 0-5 start and temporarily had things moving in the right direction with four wins in six games. The final game in that stretch was a 43-6 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

But the Falcons lost all four of their December games. The losses were all close with the margin of defeats by a combined 15 points.

The season as a whole leaves veteran quarterback Matt Ryan with mixed feelings. He sees all the chances his squad squandered but he feels optimistic about the near future.

"I feel like we've got a good core group of guys here that you can build on and I think we've been competitive," Ryan said. "We just haven't found a way to get the job done in finishing situations enough this year and it's something we definitely have to improve at moving forward."

Veteran receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday and could miss his third straight game.

--Field Level Media

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Atlanta Falcons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Player Position Lineup
Ricardo Allen primary: Safety Starter
James Carpenter primary: Left Guard Starter
Tyeler Davison primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Russell Gage primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Grady Jarrett primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Deion Jones primary: Linebacker Starter
Chris Lindstrom primary: Right Guard Starter
Jake Matthews primary: Left Tackle Starter
Kaleb McGary primary: Right Tackle Starter
Steven Means primary: Defensive End Starter
Keanu Neal primary: Safety Starter
Isaiah Oliver primary: Cornerback Starter
Foyesade Oluokun primary: Linebacker Starter
Calvin Ridley primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Matt Ryan primary: Quarterback Starter
Kendall Sheffield primary: Safety Starter
Keith Smith primary: Fullback Starter
Dante Fowler Jr. primary: Defensive End Starter
Todd Gurley primary: Runningback Starter
A.J. Terrell primary: Cornerback Starter
Matt Hennessy primary: Center Starter
Luke Stocker primary: Tight End Starter
Allen Bailey primary: Defensive End Substitution
Christian Blake primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
John Cominsky primary: Defensive End Substitution
Matt Gono primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Jaeden Graham primary: Tight End Substitution
Josh Harris primary: Long Snapper Substitution
Brian Hill primary: Runningback Substitution
Younghoe Koo primary: Kicker Substitution
Ito Smith primary: Runningback Substitution
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Hayden Hurst primary: Tight End Substitution
Sharrod Neasman primary: Safety Substitution
Blidi Wreh-Wilson primary: Cornerback Substitution
LaRoy Reynolds primary: Linebacker Substitution
Justin McCray primary: Guard Substitution
Edmond Robinson primary: Linebacker Substitution
Marlon Davidson primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Mykal Walker primary: Linebacker Substitution
Jaylinn Hawkins primary: Safety Substitution
Sterling Hofrichter primary: Punter Substitution
Chris Rowland primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Charles Harris primary: Defensive End Substitution
Laquon Treadwell primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Julio Jones primary: Wide Receiver Not active
Qadree Ollison primary: Runningback Not active
Brandon Powell primary: Wide Receiver Not active
Matt Schaub primary: Quarterback Did not play
Deadrin Senat primary: Defensive Tackle Not active
John Wetzel primary: Offensive Tackle Did not play
Devin Gray primary: Wide Receiver Did not play
Tyler Hall primary: Cornerback Not active
Jared Pinkney primary: Tight End Not active
Darqueze Dennard primary: Defensive Back Not active
Player Position Lineup
Sean Murphy-Bunting primary: Cornerback Starter
Alex Cappa primary: Right Guard Starter
Lavonte David primary: Inside Linebacker Starter
Jamel Dean primary: Cornerback Starter
Mike Evans primary: Wide Receiver Starter
William Gholston primary: Defensive Linesman Starter
Chris Godwin primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Ryan Jensen primary: Center Starter
Ali Marpet primary: Left Guard Starter
Anthony Nelson primary: Outside Linebacker Starter
Rakeem Nunez-Roches primary: Nose Tackle Starter
Jason Pierre-Paul primary: Outside Linebacker Starter
Donovan Smith primary: Left Tackle Starter
Jordan Whitehead primary: Safety Starter
Tom Brady primary: Quarterback Starter
Kevin Minter primary: Inside Linebacker Starter
Ndamukong Suh primary: Defensive Linesman Starter
Rob Gronkowski primary: Tight End Starter
Tristan Wirfs primary: Right Tackle Starter
Antoine Winfield Jr. primary: Safety Starter
Leonard Fournette primary: Runningback Starter
Antonio Brown primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Antony Auclair primary: Tight End Substitution
Cameron Brate primary: Tight End Substitution
Jack Cichy primary: Linebacker Substitution
Mike Edwards primary: Safety Substitution
Ronald Jones II primary: Runningback Substitution
Herb Miller primary: Cornerback Substitution
Scotty Miller primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Patrick O'Connor primary: Defensive Linesman Substitution
Bradley Pinion primary: Punter Substitution
Ryan Smith primary: Cornerback Substitution
Aaron Stinnie primary: Guard Substitution
Zach Triner primary: Long Snapper Substitution
Justin Watson primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Joe Haeg primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Andrew Adams primary: Safety Substitution
Ke'Shawn Vaughn primary: Runningback Substitution
Tyler Johnson primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Khalil Davis primary: Defensive Linesman Substitution
Chapelle Russell primary: Inside Linebacker Substitution
Benning Potoa'e primary: Defensive End Substitution
Cam Gill primary: Linebacker Substitution
Josh Wells primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Jaydon Mickens primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Ryan Succop primary: Kicker Substitution
Ross Cockrell primary: Cornerback Substitution
Carlton Davis primary: Cornerback Not active
Ryan Griffin primary: Quarterback Not active
Tanner Hudson primary: Tight End Not active
Jeremiah Ledbetter primary: Defensive Tackle Not active
Blaine Gabbert primary: Quarterback Did not play
LeSean McCoy primary: Runningback Not active

Atlanta Falcons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 29 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Ryan Succop
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 22 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • MIN 11
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 29 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Chris Godwin
    • Passer: Tom Brady
    • Conv Kicker: Ryan Succop
  • Period 2
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 25 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Ryan Succop
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 1 Yards
    • Rusher: Matt Ryan
    • Conv Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • MIN 8
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 38 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Ryan Succop
  • MIN 12
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 25 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Ryan Succop
    • Pass Receiver: Antonio Brown
    • Passer: Tom Brady
  • Period 3
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 21 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • MIN 8
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 19 Yards
    • Passer: Matt Ryan
    • Conv Kicker: Younghoe Koo
    • Pass Receiver: Russell Gage
  • Period 4
  • MIN 2
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 30 Yards
    • Passer: Tom Brady
    • Conv Kicker: Ryan Succop
    • Pass Receiver: Antonio Brown
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 4 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Ryan Succop
    • Passer: Tom Brady
    • Pass Receiver: Chris Godwin
  • MIN 8
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 1 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Hayden Hurst
    • Passer: Matt Ryan
    • Conv Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • MIN 11
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 3 Yards
    • Rusher: Ronald Jones II
    • Conv Kicker: Ryan Succop
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 30% L 70%
3 7
  • @Tampa Bay L 27 - 44
  • @Kansas City L 14 - 17
  • Tampa Bay L 31 - 27
  • @L.A. Chargers L 17 - 20
  • New Orleans L 21 - 16
  • Las Vegas W 6 - 43
  • @New Orleans L 9 - 24
  • Denver W 27 - 34
  • @Carolina W 25 - 17
  • Detroit L 23 - 22
W 70% L 30%
7 3
  • @New Orleans W 30 - 20
  • @Washington W 31 - 23
  • Atlanta W 27 - 44
  • @Detroit W 47 - 7
  • @Atlanta W 31 - 27
  • Minnesota W 14 - 26
  • Kansas City L 27 - 24
  • L.A. Rams L 27 - 24
  • @Carolina W 46 - 23
  • New Orleans L 38 - 3

Last Meetings

  • Falcons @ Buccaneers 27-44
  • Buccaneers @ Falcons 31-27
  • Falcons @ Buccaneers 28-22
  • Buccaneers @ Falcons 35-22
  • Falcons @ Buccaneers 34-32
  • Buccaneers @ Falcons 29-34
  • Falcons @ Buccaneers 24-21
  • Buccaneers @ Falcons 20-34
  • Falcons @ Buccaneers 43-28
  • Buccaneers @ Falcons 31-24

Last Injuries

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Alex Cappa

    Ankle
    I-R | I-R

    Cappa has been designated for the injured reserve list due to a fractured ankle.

  • Jeremiah Ledbetter

    Calf
    Ques Jan 24 | questionable

    Ledbetter is dealing with a calf injury, and it is unclear if he will suit up in the NFC Championship game against the Packers.

  • LeSean McCoy

    Undisclosed
    Prob Sun | probable

    McCoy is tending to an unlisted issue, but he is likely to play against the Saints in the NFC divisional round.

  • Ronald Jones II

    Quadricep
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Jones II is nursing a quad injury, leaving his status for the NFC divisional round versus the Saints hazy.

  • Chris Godwin

    Hip
    Prob Sun | probable

    Godwin has injuries to his hip and quad, but it is anticipated that he will be active for the NFC divisional round versus the Saints.

  • Carlton Davis

    Groin
    Prob Sun | probable

    Davis has a groin injury, but it is anticipated that he will take the field against the Saints in the NFC divisional round.

  • Mike Evans

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Evans is battling a knee injury, but he is projected to take the field for the NFC divisional round versus the Saints.

  • Kevin Minter

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Minter has been assigned to the COVID-19 list, and it is uncertain how long he will take to pass protocol.