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GAME DAY! TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT ATLANTA FALCONS

 

THE WRIGHT STUFF

Entering the season, rookie TE Tim Wright was fourth on the depth chart, fighting for a roster spot. When he got a chance to start in Week 6 against Philadelphia (10/13), he did not let it go to waste, catching seven passes for 91 yards. His 91 receiving yards are the second-most by a Buccaneers rookie tight end in franchise history, behind only TE Steve Holloway, a replacement player who totaled 107 receiving yards against Minnesota (10/18/87).

In the two games that QB Glennon has started, Wright has caught 12 passes for 132 yards. Both rookies, their connection is already the third-best in franchise history between rookies (QB Freeman-WR Stroughter, 15 catches for 120 yards, 2009; QB Testaverde-WR Carrier, 10 catches for 247 yards, 1987).

Wright has been critical at helping the offense convert third downs as well, with all six of his third down catches going for a first down. 

 

 

LAST GAME RECAP

Philadelphia 31, Tampa Bay 20 (Oct. 13, 2013)
TAMPA
– Coming off a Week 5 bye, the Tampa Bay Bucca- neers welcomed the Philadelphia Eagles to Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles opened quickly, with their first play from scrimmage a 44-yard reception by running back LeSean McCoy. They took a 7-0 lead seven plays later with a four- yard rush by quarterback Nick Foles. The Buccaneers went three-and-out on their first drive, but cornerback Darrelle Re- vis forced and recovered an Eagles fumble, giving Tampa Bay possession at the Philadelphia 40. Tampa Bay then cut into the Philadelphia lead with a 38-yard field goal by kicker Rian Lindell. Later in the quarter, aided by a 40-yard punt return by wide receiver Eric Page, the Buccaneers went up 10-7, as quarterback Mike Glennon found wide receiver Vincent Jackson for a 24-yard touchdown. After trading punts, Phila- delphia put together a scoring drive to retake the lead, with wide receiver DeSean Jackson catching a 12-yard touchdown pass from Foles. The Buccaneers answered, driving down- field on a clock-eating six-minute, 79-yard drive, where run- ning back Doug Martin broke free for a 24-yard rush to the Philadelphia 1, setting up the second touchdown pass of the day from Glennon to Jackson and giving Tampa Bay the 17- 14 lead heading into halftime. The Buccaneers opened the second half, but a Glennon interception turned into seven points for the Eagles as Foles connected on a 47-yard pass to wide receiver Riley Cooper for the score. Still down, 21- 17, in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay was able to capitalize on a pass interference call that put them first-and-goal at the Philadelphia 9. Lindell then kicked a 27-yard field goal to make the score 21-20, Eagles. On the next drive, Cooper took a short pass from Foles, broke a tackle and advanced 44 yards, which led to a 36-yard pass from Foles to Jackson to give Philadelphia an eight-point lead, 28-20. After forcing a Tampa Bay punt, Philadelphia made it a two-possession game with only 2:38 left to play, as kicker Alex Henery con- nected on a 24-yard field goal. Tampa Bay was unable to score, turning the ball over on downs, allowing Philadelphia to run out the clock, ending the game at 31-20. 

LAST MEETING

Tampa Bay 22, Atlanta 17 (Dec. 30, 2012)
ATLANTA
– In their 2012 season finale, the Tampa Bay Buc- caneers took on the NFC South Division Champion Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, coming away with a 22-17 victory over the Falcons’ starters. After holding Atlanta to a punt on the game’s opening possession, Tampa Bay drove down the field and scored on a 48-yard field goal by K Con- nor Barth. The Falcons responded with a field goal of their own, 28 yards by K Matt Bryant to tie the game, 3-3. On the following drive, Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman led the team on a 64-yard scoring drive, hitting WR Mike Williams with an eight-yard touchdown pass on third down to take the 10-3 lead. The Buccaneers defense then forced another punt, which was blocked by LB Dekoda Watson, giving Tampa Bay the ball at the Atlanta 26. Seven plays later, Barth hit a 22- yard field goal, sending the Buccaneers into halftime with a 13-3 advantage. Tampa Bay put up another three points to open the second half of play, as Barth completed a 42- yard attempt. Later in the third quarter, CB Asante Samuel picked off a Freeman pass, which Atlanta used to narrow the score to 16-10 following a 17-yard touchdown rush by RB Michael Turner. However, the Buccaneers matched the touchdown with their own, putting together an 80-yard scor- ing drive that was capped off with a 40-yard dash to the end zone by RB Doug Martin. Tampa Bay did not complete its attempted two-point conversion, putting the score at 22-10. In the fourth quarter, Atlanta scored with a seven-yard pass from QB Matt Ryan to WR Harry Douglas, but was unable to overcome Tampa Bay’s lead, and the Buccaneers closed the season with a victory. 

RB Haskel Stanback ran for two TDs, leading the Falcons to 17-0 win at Tampa Stadium (11/27/77)… QB Doug Williams hit TE Jim Obradovich on a 15-yard TD toss, lifting Tampa Bay to a 14-9 win (9/24/78)… Williams connected with WR Kevin House on a 71-yard scoring strike, rallying the Bucs to a 24-23 win (12/6/81)… The win vaulted them into first place in the NFC Central race… RB James Wilder ran for 125 yards and one score, leading Tampa Bay to 23-6 win in John McKay’s second-to-last game as Bucs head coach (12/9/84)… QB Steve DeBerg set a club record with five TD passes, igniting a season-opening 48-10 win (9/13/87)… Falcons racked up 33 points in the second quarter en route to a 43-7 win (11/17/91), the Bucs’ last game at Fulton County Stadium… Tampa Bay jumped out to 31-3 lead and holds on for 31-24 win in its initial appearance at Georgia Dome (10/31/93)… RB Mike Alstott’s career-long 47-yard touchdown run sparked a 199-yard rushing effort as Tampa Bay put a 31-10 drubbing on Atlanta in the Georgia Dome (11/9/97), with DT Brad Culpepper adding three sacks… Tampa Bay scored the last 19 points in a 19-10 victory in Raymond James Stadium (11/21/99), including 10 points in the final 58 seconds… K Martin Gramatica’s 53-yard field goal with 58 seconds left gave the Bucs a 12-10 lead, and CB Donnie Abraham cemented the victory moments later with a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown… Tampa Bay’s defense forced four turnovers and WR Keyshawn Johnson caught two touchdown passes from QB Shaun King (11/5/00) as the Bucs won in the Georgia Dome for the second consecutive time… The third of three consecutive sacks in the second quarter knocked Atlanta QB Chris Chandler out of the game… Tampa Bay’s defense did not allow a touchdown for the third straight road contest and posted an interception return for a score for a club-record fourth straight game en route to a 20-6 win (10/6/02) at the Georgia Dome… The Buccaneers were led by LB Derrick Brooks, who became the first linebacker in NFL history with three interception returns for touchdowns in a single season… QB Brad Johnson threw four touchdown passes and Tampa Bay’s defense limited Atlanta QB Michael Vick to 134 total yards (125 passing and 9 rushing) as the Bucs rolled to a 34-10 victory at home (12/8/02)… Tampa Bay won the first meeting in 2003, a 31-10 win at Atlanta (9/21/03)… FB Mike Alstott had two touchdown runs and DT Warren Sapp caught a TD pass from QB Brad Johnson… Tampa Bay’s defense totaled five sacks and forced five turnovers vs. Atlanta (12/5/04) in a 27-0 home win… RB Cadillac Williams carried the offensive load amassing 129 yards, including 116 on the ground to lead Tampa Bay past Atlanta 30-27 (11/20/05)… Tampa blocked overtime field goal and K Matt Bryant made game-winning 41-yard attempt with 41 seconds left in overtime to give the Bucs a 27-24 victory (12/24/05)… The Tampa Bay defense forced four turnovers, including a 41-yard fumble return for a touchdown by CB Ronde Barber in its 31-7 victory at Atlanta (11/18/07)… WR Micheal Spurlock returns the Buccaneers first-ever kickoff for a touchdown in the 37-3, NFC South clinching victory (12/16/07)… RB Earnest Graham recorded a career long 68-yard touchdown run helping the Bucs to a 24-9 win vs. Atlanta (9/14/08)… The Bucs defense held the Falcons without a pass completion until 6:27 left in the second quarter and QB Matt Ryan to only 3-of-15 passing for 29 yards in the first half… QB Josh Freeman completed 20-of-29 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns and TE Kellen Winslow caught seven passes for 81 yards, but the Falcons held on for a 20-17 victory at the Georgia Dome (11/29/09)… The Buccaneers special teams led the way, as WR Micheal Spurlock returned four kickoffs for 209 yards, including an 89 yard touchdown, but the Falcons were able to hang on and prevent Bucs QB Josh Freeman from putting together another fourth-quarter comeback on the season when RB LeGarrette Blount was stopped short of the goal line on 4th-and-one, allowing the Falcons to win 27-21 at the Georgia Dome (11/7/10)… Although the Buccaneers held a 10-point fourth quarter lead, the Bucs were stopped just short as QB Josh Freeman’s interception late in the fourth quarter stopped a potential game-winning drive (12/5/10)… K Connor Barth connected on three field goals and QB Josh Freeman recorded his first career rushing touchdown as the Bucs pulled out a 16-13 win (9/25/11)… RB Doug Martin ran for two touchdowns as the Buccaneers narrowly fell to the Falcons, 24-23, in Tampa (11/25/12)… RB Doug Martin accrued 142 rushing yards on 28 carries and one touchdown in a Buccaneers victory, 22-17, in Atlanta. 

AGAINST THE OPPOSITION

Below are highlights of how selected Buccaneers have performed during their careers against Atlanta.

DE Adrian Clayborn: Recorded his first career sack, forcing a fumble by Falcons QB Matt Ryan (9/25/11).

LB Lavonte David: Recorded eight tackles and one sack, dropping Falcons QB Matt Ryan for a 14-yard loss (12/30/12).

LB Mason Foster: Totaled 12 tackles in a Buccaneers win (12/30/12).

K Rian Lindell: As a member of the Buffalo Bills, never missed a field goal (8 attempts) or extra point (7 attempts) in four matchups against Atlanta dating back to 2000.

RB Doug Martin: Ran for a total 192 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie in two matchups against Atlanta (11/25/12, 12/30/12).

LB Dekoda Watson: Recorded a blocked punt that led to a Buccaneers field goal in a win at Atlanta (12/30/12).

WR Mike Williams: Caught 4 passes for a game-high 89 yards and one touchdown (11/7/10). 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR…

 

– LB Lavonte David

• David has four sacks on the season and with one more can become the first Buccaneer linebacker to record five sacks in a season since Lonnie Marts in 1996 (7.0).
– P Michael Koenen

• Koenen has 53 punts inside the 20 with the Buccaneers and needs three more to pass Tommy Barnhardt (55 from 1996-98) for sixth-most, four more to pass Tom Tupa (56 from 2002-03) for fifth-most punts inside the 20 in team history.

– WR Vincent Jackson

• Jackson to record his eighth-career 100-yard receiving game, the fifth-most in team history.
• With two catches, Jackson would have 100 receptions as a Buccaneer, becoming only 34th player with 100 catches as a Buc.

• With 10 receiving yards, Jackson would have 1,800 receiv– ing yards in only 22 games as a Buccaneer, becoming the fastest player to reach the mark in team history (previous best: Keyshawn Johnson-27 games).

– RB Doug Martin

• Martin has 1,863 career rushing yards and needs 76 more to pass LeGarrette Blount (1,939 from 2010-12) for 10th and 185 more to pass Earnest Graham (2,047 from 2004- 11) for ninth in career rushing yards in franchise history.

• Martin has 12 career rushing touchdowns and needs only two more to pass LeGarrette Blount (13 from 2010-12), and Doug Williams (13 from 1978-82) for 10th-most in franchise history.

• Martin has 435 career rushing attempts and needs 43 more to pass Earnest Graham (477 from 2004-11) for 10th and 81 more to pass Jerry Eckwood (515 from 1979-81) for ninth in career rushing attempts in franchise history.

• Martin recording his seventh-career 100-yard rushing game, tied for the sixth-most in team history.
– DT Gerald McCoy
• McCoy ro record his fourth-career multi-sack game, tied for the seventh-most in team history.

– WR Mike Williams

• Williams has 25 career touchdown catches and with two more will tie WR Mark Carrier (27 touchdown catches from 1987-1992) for fourth-most in franchise history.
• Williams has 25 total touchdowns and with one more will surpass Errict Rhett (25 touchdowns from 1994-97) for eighth-most in franchise history.

• Williams has 2,895 career receiving yards and needs 41 more to pass Michael Clayton (2,936 receiving yards from 2004-09) for ninth and 47 more to pass Bruce Hill (2,942 receiving yards from 1987-91).

• Williams needs 105 receiving yards to reach 3,000 for his career.
• Williams has 204 career receptions and needs 36 more to pass Gerald Carter (239 from 1981-87) for 10th most recep- tions in franchise history. 

MIKE SMITH- Falcons Head Coach

 

Mike Smith was named the 14th head coach in Falcons history on January 23, 2008.

Smith is in his sixth season as Falcons head coach. In his first five seasons with the team, he compiled a 56-24 record, the sec- ond-best mark in the NFL during that time, two NFC South Division titles, four playoff appearances and five consecutive winning sea-

sons. Smith’s 33 wins are easily the most victories by a Fal- cons head coach in his first three years on the job. His team boasts a 21-6 home record and .778 winning percentage since 2008.

Under the direction of Head Coach Mike Smith, the club posted the NFC’s top record at 13-3 in both 2010 and 2012, the number one seed in the conference both years and the second-most wins in a season in team annals. Smith’s team also captured the NFC South title last season for only the fifth Division crown in franchise history, while also advancing to the team’s second appearance in the NFC Championship game in franchise history, and the first hosted in Atlanta. The eight consecutive victories in 2012 were tied for the second longest streak in team history, with the team’s other eight-win streak also coming under Smith, in 2010.

The Atlanta Falcons finished the 2009 campaign strong with three consecutive victories, including two wins on the road, to close out their season with a winning record at 9-7. The three-game winning streak at the end of the year secured the first consecutive winning seasons in team history.

With Smith’s determined leadership in 2008, the Falcons enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds that the NFL has ever witnessed. The seven-win swing going from 4-12 to 11-5 is tied for the fourth-best mark (at +7 wins) in the league for a rookie head coach since 1978. Smith’s 11 victories are tied for the top mark with five other head coaches for the best re- cord for a rookie head coach taking over a team that finished below .500 the previous season. And only three rookie head coaches in NFL history had more wins in their first campaign on the sidelines than Smith. 

For his coaching efforts, Smith earned the prestigious Associ- ated Press and Sporting News 2008 NFL Coach of the Year honors, as well as NFC Coach of the Year by the respected KC 101 Club. Smith boasts a strong coaching background that includes 11 NFL seasons and 28 total years in foot- ball. His defensive track record shows a remarkable amount of success, as he helped guide the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl XXXV Championship in 2000 as a defensive as- sistant coach and led the Jacksonville Jaguars defense to top 10 rankings in several categories (overall defense, points allowed and rushing defense) during his time as the club’s defensive coordinator. With Smith’s help, the Jaguars had the sixth-most wins in the NFL (from 2004-07) with 40 victories. From 2003–2007, Smith led Jacksonville’s defensive unit, which ranked fourth in overall defense (296.6), third in of- fensive points allowed (16.1) and fifth in rushing defense (99.3) from 2003–2006. In his last season in Jacksonville in 2007, the Jaguars rushing defense continued that trend as the unit ranked sixth in the AFC, holding opponents to 100.3 yards per game. The Jaguars defense under Smith’s direction also finished 12th in the NFL in total defense in ‘07.

During Smith’s five seasons in Jacksonville, three defensive players garnered six Pro Bowl selections, and he contributed to three winning seasons (2004–2005, 2007) as the team reached the playoffs for the sixth occasion in franchise his- tory in 2007 and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Divisional Playoff game on the road at Heinz Field. Prior to joining the Jaguars, Smith spent four seasons with the Balti- more Ravens and was the defensive assistant/defensive line coach from 1999–2001, which included the team’s 2000 Super Bowl winning season. In 2002, Smith served as Balti- more’s linebackers coach.

Before joining the NFL ranks, Smith spent 12 seasons at Ten- nessee Tech from 1987–1998. He was the Golden Eagles’ defensive coordinator for the last three seasons as the team finished in the top 10 in the nation in total defense (1997 and 1998). He joined the Tennessee Tech staff… as the de- fensive line coach and then served as the special team coor- dinator from 1988 to 1995. Prior to his last season with the Golden Eagles, Smith was promoted to assistant head coach on top of his defensive coordinator duties.

Smith played college football at East Tennessee (1977– 1981) and was named defensive MVP twice at his position. He led the team with a school record 186 tackles as a senior. A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Smith was born on June 13, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois. He and his wife, Julie, have one daughter, Logan, and reside in Suwanee, Ga. 

 

Nick

About Nick

Fanatical Bucs follower since the 1979 season- and proud owner of over 650 Tampa Bay Buccaneers games on DVD going back to 1977. Blogger and historian for all things Bucs.

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