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Falcons players react to Sambrailo's record TD, Debo's game-winning pick-six

When offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was putting the game plan together for Atlanta's regular-season finale against the Bucs, he had a trick play up his sleeve and it worked.

After studying the film of the Falcons' 35-22 loss to the Bucs in 12, Koetter saw a hole in Tampa's defense he wanted to exploit.


On the eighth play of the game, Matt Ryan dropped back, faked the handoff and found offensive linemen – and tackle eligible – Ty Sambrailo over the middle. Sambrailo out ran two Bucs defenders 35 yards to score his first NFL touchdown.

"Last time we played them we had a jumbo heavy tight end play they didn't honor the tight end as a passing option, so we took advantage of that," Sambrailo said following the game.

Sambrailo's touchdown catch was the longest touchdown reception by an offensive lineman since 1950.

"It's special," Sambrailo said of the record. "That's really cool. We talked about running it in, but I didn't know what distance they were expecting me to run."

At 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds, it was the speed in which Sambrailo moved down the field with that caught the attention of everyone.

When the Falcons practiced the play, it was when the offense was in the red zone. Sambrailo said he wasn't surprised he caught it, he was more shocked about how far out Koetter called the play.

Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell said when the offense ran the play in practice he didn't think it would work in the game. He was happy to be proved wrong.

"We saw it in practice and we said it wasn't going to work but hey they proved us completely wrong," Campbell said. "That was a great play; Ty made a great play. The catch wasn't impressive, it was the run after the catch to me. He definitely surprised me."

Fellow big man Grady Jarrett was also stunned on how far out the play was called.

"It was sweet," Jarrett said. "I saw them run it in practice but I didn't know they would call it from that far out. It was dope seeing him get that touchdown. It was awesome."

Sambrailo's touchdown certainly gave the Falcons a spark but it was Deion Jones' pick-six that sealed the game.

In his fourth season, Jones had yet to record an interception. According to his teammates, that didn't quite sit well with him.

The Buccaneers started with the ball in overtime and on the first play, Jones picked off Winston and ran it back for a touchdown.

"That's what Debo does," Campbell said. "That's normal to me. He had been crying the whole year about how he didn't have any interceptions, so it was a picture-perfect moment for him. Only pick-six of the season, the game-winner, that was a moment that he lived for."

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