Ryan shines as Fal­cons thump Bucs

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Matt Ryan threw for 344 yards and four touch­downs, help­ing the At­lanta Fal­cons tighten their grip on first place in the NFC South with a 43-28 vic­tory over the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers on Thurs­day night.

Julio Jones had eight re­cep­tions for 111 yards and a TD as the Fal­cons (6-3) avenged a sea­son-open­ing loss to the Bucs (3-5). Tampa Bay has dropped two straight on the heels of a three-game win­ning streak that got them back to .500.

Jones, who’s clos­ing in on an­other 1,000yard re­ceiv­ing sea­son with 970 through nine games, caught a 3-yard scor­ing pass in the third quar­ter, when Ryan led TD drives of 86 and 82 yards to break it open.

Levine Toilolo, Pa­trick DiMarco and Austin Hooper also caught TD pass from Ryan, who leads the NFL with 2,980 yards and 23 touch­downs vs. four in­ter­cep­tions.

Jameis Win­ston threw for 261 yards and three touch­downs for Tampa Bay, in­clud­ing scor­ing passes of 3 and 24 yards to Evans, who had 11 re­cep­tions. Both of Tampa Bay’s young stars fin­ished the game on the side­line, with Evans be­ing eval­u­ated for a pos­si­ble con­cus­sion and Win­ston limp­ing off af­ter be­ing shaken up when he was tack­led try­ing to score on a two-point con­ver­sion play with just under seven min­utes re­main­ing.

Win­ston was tack­led around the an­kle by At­lanta’s Brooks Reed and also hit by corner­back Jalen Collins. Mike Glen­non fin­ished up for the Bucs, tak­ing his first reg­u­lar sea­son snaps since 2014. He threw a late TD pass to Cameron Brate to cut into a 23-point deficit.


The Bucs in­ducted for­mer safety John Lunch into the team’s Ring of Honor. To­gether with Hall of Famers War­ren Sapp and Der­rick Brooks, Lynch formed the foun­da­tion of a dom­i­nat­ing de­fense that helped trans­form Tampa Bay from the laugh­ing­stock of the NFL into a Su­per Bowl cham­pion. A nine-time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion and a fi­nal­ist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame last win­ter, Lynch played for the Bucs 1993 to 2003 and the Den­ver Bron­cos from 2004 to 2007. He was in­ducted into the Bron­cos Ring of Honor ear­lier this month.


The Bucs de­fense yielded 626 yards , in­clud­ing 513 pass­ing, dur­ing last week’s 3024 over­time loss to Oak­land. That may have con­trib­uted to the de­ci­sion Thurs­day night to de­cline a 15-yard face mask against the Fal­cons, set­tling for Matt Bryant kick­ing a 41yard field goal for a 13-7 At­lanta lead in­stead of giv­ing Ryan a chance to con­vert third-and22 from the Tampa Bay 38


Ryan has thrown for 1,344 yards, nine touch­downs and just two in­ter­cep­tions in his last four games against the Bucs, who had won three straight in the divi­sion ri­valry. The Bucs lead the all-time se­ries 24-23.


Bucs DT Gerald McCoy talked this week about his ad­mi­ra­tion for Ryan , but re­it­er­ated that good sports­man­ship should never be con­fused with a lack of com­mit­ment to do what­ever to nec­es­sary to win. He said he’d shake the quar­ter­back’s hand before and af­ter the game, but spend the rest of the night try­ing to make the NFL pass­ing yardage leader un­com­fort­able. McCoy sacked Ryan in the sec­ond quar­ter, forc­ing a fum­ble that led to Win­ston’s sec­ond TD pass to Evans.


With Doug Martin (ham­string) and Jac­quizz Rodgers (foot) in­ac­tive, rookie Peyton Barber be­came the fourth dif­fer­ent start­ing run­ning back for Tampa Bay this sea­son. Bucs C Joe Hawley left with a knee in­jury in the sec­ond quar­ter and did not re­turn. Fal­cons CB Des­mond Tr­u­fant left with a shoul­der in­jury in the first half and did not re­turn. — AP

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