“A win is a win is a win.”
I’m going to just keep telling myself that.
Bucs 23 – Falcons 20 (Overtime)
Holy crap, Bucs. You sure now how to test a guy’s cardiac health. Just sayin’.
For the second week in a row, Tampa found new and interesting ways to squander what at one time in their storied if rocky history would’ve been a commanding lead. The Bucs defense forcing three fumbles in the first half allowed Jameis Winston and the Tampa offense to put 20 points on the board and holding the Atlanta Falcons at bay through two and a half quarters. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, however, wasn’t going to the showers without a fight.
Ryan went 21 completions on 25 pass attempts in the second half on his way to notching nearly 400 passing yards on the day, shrugging off a lone interception he threw into the Bucs end zone in the early going. In the second half, he released the Kraken, guiding the Falcons offense toward 17 unanswered points and tying up the game with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation, eventually forcing overtime.
After winning the overtime coin toss, Winston maneuvered a sometimes-sputtering Tampa offense all the way down to the Atlanta 7-yard line, but the Falcons were able to hold and force the Bucs to settle for a field goal, thereby giving Ryan once more chance to pull out a victory. The Falcons took the ensuing kickoff and it looked like Ryan might just get something going, but Tampa’s defense finally dialed in, sacking Ryan and forcing a fumble that Atlanta recovered. That was the momentum changer for the extra period, with the Bucs putting the pressure to Ryan and forcing him to throw two incomplete passes, giving up the ball on downs and-in this case–the game.
Hell. I’ll take it.
The big deal for this game was putting another notch in Atlanta’s loss column. They fall to 6-2 after dropping two straight, while the Bucs improve to 3-4 and still occupy bottom rung in the NFC South following New Orleans’ jaw-dropping 52-49 victory over the New York Giants. The Carolina Panthers are sitting atop the division at 6-0 and due to take on Indianapolis on Monday Night Football. Next up for the Bucs? Hosting those same Giants next Sunday in Tampa, and you just know Eli Manning and company will be looking for redemption such a close, heartbreaking loss.
Should be interesting.