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Game Notebook: Falcons vs Buccaneers

Posted Sep 19, 2014

WR Devin Hester made history in the Falcons 56-14 win over the Buccaneers Thursday, setting the new, all-time career record for return touchdowns, held previously by former Falcons CB Deion Sanders.

  • The Falcons scored the second-most points in a single game in franchise history topping the Buccaneers 56-14 on Thursday Night Football. Atlanta’s 56 point outburst was the most in a game since scoring 51 points against the Carolina Panthers in 1998. The Falcons’ club record of 62 points came against the New Orleans Saints in 1973.
  • WR Devin Hester broke Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Atlanta Falcon CB Deion Sanders’ NFL record for return touchdowns with a 62-yard punt return touchdown in the second quarter. Hester has returned 14 punts, five kickoffs, and one blocked field goal for touchdowns. His 14 punt returns are also an NFL record.
  • Hester scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 20-yard reverse in the second quarter. Hester has scored 35 total touchdowns in his career, including 20 returns and 14 receptions. The three-time Pro Bowler has scored 10 offensive touchdowns of 20-or-more yards, including nine receiving touchdowns.
  • Thursday night marked Hester’s fourth career multi-touchdown game. He scored receiving and punt return touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings in 2007 and again in 2010. Hester also scored on a punt return and kickoff return against the Denver Broncos in 2007.
  • Hester added one catch for 25 yards and one kickoff return for 29 yards. He finished the game with 142 total yards on six touches with two touchdowns. This season, he has recorded 390 total yards on 19 touches between offense and special teams.
  • QB Matt Ryan also had a record breaking night completing 21 of 24 passes for 286 yards with three touchdowns and a career high 155.9 passer rating. Ryan’s 87.5 completion percentage and his 155.9 quarterback rating set new single-game franchise records. Ryan previously shared the club record for completion percentage with QB Steve Bartkowski at 85.7. He broke QB Wade Wilson’s single game QB rating mark of 154.5.
  • Ryan tossed three touchdowns for the 21st time in his career, leading the Falcons to a 20-1 record when he accomplishes that feat. The Falcons also improved to 36-2 when he records a passer rating of 100-or-higher.
  • Since 2012, Ryan has thrown 65 touchdown passes, which ranks third in the NFL during that span. Ryan trails Peyton Manning (98) and Drew Brees (85). He has thrown 160 career touchdown passes and ranks 12th among active players and sixth since 2008.
  • Ryan completed 11 of 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. He also posted a passer rating of 150.3, the second highest first-quarter rating of his career when throwing at least 10 passes (9/15/13 – 152.2). Thursday marked the fourth time in his career that Ryan has thrown two touchdowns in the opening quarter.
  • Atlanta’s 21 first-quarter points was tied for most in the first quarter in team history. Thursday night was the fifth time the Falcons have scored 21 points in the first quarter. The last time was 1/1/12 against the Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta has scored 21 points in a single quarter 12 times in team history. The franchise record for points in a quarter is 28 (fourth quarter).
  • WR Julio Jones had one of the best games of his career, catching nine passes for 161 yards with two touchdowns. Jones recorded the sixth multi-touchdown game of his career, and his 161-yard output was the second highest single-game yardage total of his career (regular season). Jones posted 182 yards against the St. Louis Rams last season and notched 182 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 NFC Championship Game.
  • RB Steven Jackson punched in a one-yard touchdown for his first score of the season and the 63rd rushing touchdown of his career. Jackson has scored seven rushing touchdowns as a Falcon. He has 72 total touchdowns which ranks tied for the seventh most among active players.
  • RB Antone Smith once again showed his penchant for explosive plays as he scampered 38 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. The score was Smith’s second of the season and the fourth of his career. All four of his touchdowns have been 38 yards-or-longer with two coming against the Buccaneers. Smith has scored on a pair of 38-yard runs and a 50-yard run. He has also added a 54-yard receiving touchdown.
  • K Matt Bryant moved into second on the Falcons all-time scoring list booting eight extra points to pass Mick Luckhurst (558). Bryant has scored 564 points in four-plus seasons with the Falcons. Bryant’s 1,151 career points rank fourth among active players. K Morten Andersen holds the Falcons all-time scoring record with 806 career points.
  • Atlanta tallied 488 yards of total offense in its Thursday Night win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In two games at the Georgia Dome this season, the Falcons are averaging 528 yards per game. The Falcons set a franchise record for net yardage at home in 2008, averaging 391.9 yards at the Dome.
  • Starting fast has been a staple of Head Coach Mike Smith’s teams during his time in Atlanta as the Falcons have posted a 46-16 record when scoring first. The Falcons opened Thursday night’s game with a six-play, 70-yard touchdown drive to notch their first opening drive score of the season. Since 2008, the Falcons lead the League in points scored on their first offensive possession with 269 points.
  • Since 2008, the Falcons have compiled a 38-12 record at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta’s .760 winning percentage at home is the fifth best record in the NFL during that time. Only New England (.875), Ravens (.800), New Orleans (.771), and Green Bay (.765) have won more at home than Atlanta over the last seven seasons.
  • S Kemal lshmael recorded his first career interception and touchdown when he picked off QB Josh McCown and took it 23 yards into the end zone. It was the Falcons first pick-six since LB Sean Weatherspoon picked off QB Matt Flynn and returned the INT 71-yards for a score at Green Bay last season (12/8/13). Since 2008, the Falcons have recorded 11 interception return touchdowns.
  • The Falcons notched three sacks as DT Corey Peters, DE Stansly Maponga, and DE Jonathan Massaquoi each posted quarterback takedowns in the win. In his second game back from injury, Peters dragged QB Mike Glennon down for a seven-yard loss.