It was a quarter of two drives. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the coin toss, elected to receive, and took 8:36 off the game clock to cover 47 yards, converting four third-down situations, leading to a 51-yard field goal by Bucs kicker Patrick Murray. The Falcons took the ball for their first offensive drive, imposing their will to rush the football. Falcons running back Steven Jackson took six carries for 27 yards, capping the 11-play, 78-yard drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run. Offensive Player of the Quarter:Falcons RB Steven Jackson
Two weeks after surpassing the 11,000-career-rushing-yards mark, and looking rested after a Week 9 bye, Jackson's 27 yards in the opening quarter gave him 11,053 yards thus far in his brilliant 11-year career.
Defensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons CB Desmond Trufant
The second-year cornerback finished the quarter with three tackles to lead the team, helping his Falcons defense keep the Bucs to just three points.
The Falcons defense began the second quarter by forcing a Bucs punt, giving Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and company good starting field position on Atlanta's 39-yard line. Mike Smith's team would make the most of its prime real estate, logging a 12-play, 63-yard drive, highlighted by a 39-yard reception by Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, capped off with a 37-yard field goal by Falcons kicker Matt Bryant for a 10-3 lead.
The teams exchanged punts on the next two drives, before the Bucs regained possession with 2:31 left in the quarter. Bucs QB Josh McCown led his offense on an 8-play, 86-yard drive, ending in the hands of rookie wide receiver Mike Evans for a 22-yard touchdown.
The second quarter wasn't over before Bryant closed out a six-play, 33-yard drive, with a 43-yard FG, giving his team a 13-10 lead at halftime.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Bucs QB Josh McCown
With his team trailing 10-3, McCown completed five of six passes for 76 yards on the game-tying drive, including the 22-yard touchdown strike to Evans.
Defensive Player of the Quarter: Bucs DT Clinton McDonald
With the Falcons offense in Bucs territory at the 15-yard line, McDonald came up with a huge sack, taking down Ryan for a 7-yard loss.
The Atlanta Falcons received the ball to start the second half and kept it for 4:37, before putting three more points on the board. Ryan directed the 10-play scoring drive that covered 56 yards, before Bryant nailed his third field goal of the game, this one from 44 yards away.
Later in the quarter, the Bucs offense faced a 3rd-and-4 from the Atlanta 47-yard line; McCown completed an 8-yard reception to Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson to move the sticks. Two plays later, Falcons defensive end Malliciah Goodman forced Bucs running back Charles Sims to fumble, recovered by Falcons defensive end Stansly Maponga. Unfortunately, the Falcons couldn't take advantage of the turnover, later punting to the Bucs, who moved the ball to Atlanta's 1-yard line to close out the quarter.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Bucs WR Mike Evans
Evans showcased his size and strength against the Falcons throughout the day, including a 17-yard reception in the third quarter, which later led to a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Defensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons DE Malliciah Goodman
Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan says Goodman has a very high ceiling to be a fantastic player in this league; Goodman showed a reason why, forcing the fumble by Sims.
The Buccaneers used late third-quarter momentum to take a fourth-quarter lead. McCown found Bucs rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a 1-yard touchdown reception, giving the Bucs a 17-16 advantage.
The Falcons responded on the very next drive, using 10 plays to march 65 yards in 5:00, ending with a 5-yard touchdown reception by Falcons wide receiver Roddy White to lead 22-17. Seeking a 7-point lead, the Falcons went for the 2-point conversion and got it as Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas showed strong hands, hauling in the throw from Ryan.
Atlanta's defense forced a three-and-out on the Bucs ensuing offensive drive, before Bryant added his fourth field goal of the day (33-yard make), moving his team's lead to 27-17.
With less than two minutes to play in the game, the Bucs mounted a comeback that was squashed, thanks to an interception by Falcons safety Dwight Lowery. McCown went for Jackson in the back corner of the end zone, before Falcons cornerback Robert Alford deflected the pass into the hands of a diving Lowery. One possession later, on the Bucs final drive of the game, the Falcons forced another turnover, when safety Kemal Ishmael picked off McCown, preserving the 27-17 win.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons WR Julio Jones
Jones again proved big for his team, including 37 receiving yards in the fourth quarter alone. He finished the 27-17 win with eight receptions for 119 yards.
Defensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons S Dwight Lowery
Trying to preserve the Falcons 10-point lead, Lowery made a sensational interception to close out the Bucs in the fourth quarter. Lowery finished the game with three tackles and the huge interception.