Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons 9/18/14 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: Falcons 56, Buccaneers 14
September 18, 2014
Kicking off Week 3 on “Thursday Night Football,” we had a big NFC matchup between the Buccaneers and the Falcons. Tampa Bay was off to a rocky start after getting edged by the Rams in Week 2. Atlanta, meanwhile, lost out to the Bengals this past Sunday and was looking to make a statement at home.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key players and statistics from this game so that we can figure out why things played out the way they did. Afterward, we’ll take a look ahead to Week 4 to see what’s in store for both teams.
What Happened: To say that the Falcons dominated this game simply isn’t sufficient enough to express the utter embarrassment they levied on the Buccaneers. They were in complete control from the very beginning, starting with the 3-yard Harry Douglas TD reception that opened the floodgates in the first quarter. Julio Jones would post another TD reception and Kemal Ishmael would post a 23-yard pick-six to make it 21-0 after one.
The barrage continued in the second, and some history was made. Ex-Bear Devin Hester posted a 20-yard scoring run, then later in the quarter ripped off a 62-yard punt return TD that gave him the all-time record for return scores, finally passing Deion Sanders on the NFL list. The Falcons matched their franchise’s biggest first-half lead with a 35-0 gap at the break.
In the third, the scoring continued, but Tampa didn’t get in on any of it . Jones, Steven Jackson and Antone Smith each scored to give Atlanta a 56-0 lead that had even the most jaded fans calling for mercy.
The Bucs would post two cosmetic touchdowns against the mop-up crew in the fourth, but the damage was done. Atlanta destroyed Tampa on the national stage, posting the most one-sided victory you’ll ever see. Final score: 56-14.
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The Stars: Hester was the big star of the night, as he’s now officially the greatest returner of all time and will make an interesting Hall of Fame discussion when he retires. Aside from that, you could throw a dart at the Atlanta roster sheet and whoever’s name it hits probably had a good game. Jones had nine receptions for 161 and two scores; Jackson rushed for 54 yards and a score on 14 carries; Ryan had 286 yards and three touchdowns.
On the other side, Bobby Rainey was his team’s leading rusher (41 yards) and receiver (64 yards) but lost two fumbles.
The Goats: Speaking of fumbles, Tampa had five all together, losing four. Add that to the interception and you’ve got five turnovers. The team couldn’t get out of its own way, making a dumb mistake or penalty every time they got something going. They had just 10 first downs to Atlanta’s 26. The 11 penalties for 110 yards didn’t help, either. There’s no real goat here; Pretty much the entire team shares in the blame in one of the worst performances in franchise history.
Injuries: Tampa QB Josh McCown banged his hand on a defender’s helmet and was replaced by Mike Glennon. On the other side, Harry Douglas came out in the first half with a foot injury.
Outlook: Looking ahead to Week 4, the Buccaneers will be hitting the road once again as they head up to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (Sunday, September 28; 1:00 PM ET on FOX).
Meanwhile, the Falcons will venture north themselves, going up to Minnesota to see the Vikings (Sunday, September 28; 4:25 PM ET on FOX).
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