By: Robert L. Porter Jr.

Monday night football is in Tampa, Florida this week were the reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan and his Atlanta Falcons look to hold on to the 6th seed in the NFC playoffs but they will have to go through the division rival Buccaneers and QB Jameis Winston. Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Tampa’s Mike Evans are two of the NFL’s elite wide outs.


The Falcons get the opening kickoff and goes 3 & out. After the punt Jameis Winston and his offense steps on the field but suffers the same fate. Matt Ryan’s 2nd possession looked much better than the 1st as they move down the field with ease and cap the drive off with a 6 yard TD pass to Justin Hardy. The Falcons take the 7-0 lead in this one. The Bucs 2nd drive looked to be over but a personal foul on Richardo Allen keeps it alive. They are able to get across midfield then hit DeSean Jackson to get them in a 3rd & 1, Winston would find TE O.J. Howard for a 30 yard catch and run TD on the next play and now we’re all tied up at 7. Atlanta’s next drive features the running game as Terron Ward and DeVonta Freeman gashes the Buccaneers As we end the first quarter with Atlanta knocking on the door for more points.


The 2nd period starts with more Falcon Movement. They would Ultimate end the drive with a TD that was fumbled into the end zone by Freeman to make it 14-7. Winston leads his team on a very good drive but a Peyton Barber fumble At the Falcons 5 yard line kills their momentum and gives the ball back to Ryan and his offense. To start the possession, Ryan finds Julio on a deep in then a long run by Freeman puts them in Bucs territory but after that the drive stalled. Matt Bryant kicks a 57 yard field goal like it was an extra point to make the score 17-7. Tampa takes the field looking to cut the deficit they have before halftime but are unable to do so, Atlanta gets the ball back with 1:43 before the half. Quick passing from Ryan moves the team into Bucs territory quickly but they can’t make any progress after they crossed midfield. They would punt it back to Tampa with 25 seconds left in the 1st half. A Mike Evans catch followed by a Winston fumble that was recovered by a lineman is how the half closes.


The first play of the 2nd half was a 55 yard TD pass to Mike Evans but an offensive pass interference call brings it back. The loss of the penalty yardage proves to be too much as they are forced to punt after a sack of Winston. Atlanta’s series was a short one as they go 3 & out. After a good return, the Buccaneers start near midfield. Two Peyton Barber plays set the table for a 42 yard bomb to Mike Evans into double coverage for a TD that makes the score 17-14 Falcons. The momentum Atlanta had in the passing game early doesn’t seem to be there anymore but this rushing attack has picked up the slack. Freeman ran his team down to the 15 but the drive stalls so Matt Bryant comes in for a 33 yarder that’s blocked by William Gholston. Tampa takes over after a huge stop. A scramble by Jameis for 13 yards is how the 3rd quarter comes to a close.


Winston is starting to heat up as his team moves into Falcons territory looking to take the lead. A bad drop by Cameron Brate on 2nd down then a 3rd down holding penalty ends the drive. Another big collision between Devonta Freeman and Chris Conte results in a fumble but an offensive lineman recovered it to keep the Falcons offense on the field. A 3rd & 3 play is a HB toss that Freeman takes 32 yards for the TD to push the lead back to 10. Freeman is in the midst of a huge night, he has 183 total yards and 1 TD thus far. This Tampa bay offense just will not go quietly as they move into Atlanta’s side of the field. A scrambling Jameis finds Adam Humphries for a 16 yard TD to make it a 24-21 game. Atlanta came out looking to run the clock out but a 3rd down sack forces them to punt it back to the red hot Winston. A good return by Humphries start the drive off. Two nice passes moves them across the 50 with 25 seconds left. Another catch By Brate sets up a 55 yard attempt to send the game into overtime but the kick just missed to the right as Atlanta keep its Playoff hopes alive with a close win.


DeVonta Freeman – 22 carries 125 rushing yards 1 TD, 5 rec 69 yards receiving

Jameis Winston – 27/35 299 yards 3 TDs

Mike Evans – 5 rec 79 yards 1 TD

Matt Ryan – 17/31 213 yards 1 TD