The Falcons face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Thursday Night Football matchup in the Georgia Dome. Check out these pictures of the game.
1. Devin Hester's Night: With his longtime mentor and friend, Hall of Famer and former Falcons CB Deion Sanders in attendance, Falcons WR Devin Hester made history with a second-quarter punt return score (62 yards), the 20th non-offensive TD of his career, a new NFL record, breaking the first-place tie he held with Sanders. The return was Hester's second score of the night, following a 20-yard end-around TD run, early in the second quarter. Believe it or not, Hester's best play may have come defensively; following a fumble by Falcons TE Levine Toilolo, Bucs S Mark Barron took the ball the other way, before he was hit by Hester, who forced the fumble and recovered it, giving his offense a fresh set of downs, eventually leading to a Falcons score.
2. Another Ryan Record: The questions were asked all week about how Falcons QB Matt Ryan and the offense would respond in Week 3; they passed the test with flying colors. In three quarters of play, Ryan was 21 of 24 for 286 yards and 3 TDs, with a passer rating of 155.9; he set a franchise single-game record, completing 87.5 percent of his passes.
3. Falcons Get Defensive: The Falcons defense responded in dramatic fashion in the Week 3 win and scored points, while doing so. During the second offensive drive by Tampa Bay, Falcons S Kemal Ishmael read the eyes of Bucs QB Josh McCown, stepping in front of his pass, returning it 23 yards for the score. The defense used the pick-six as momentum as the very next drive, LB Paul Worrilow stripped Bucs RB Bobby Rainey of the ball, recovered by S Dwight Lowery. For the game, the Falcons defense forced five Tampa Bay turnovers and logged three QB sacks, one each by Falcons DT Corey Peters, DE Jonathan Massaquoi and DE Stansly Maponga.
4. Two More for Julio: Falcons WR Julio Jones will be on all the highlight shows Thursday night, following a two-TD performance in the Week 3 win. Jones' first score was an 8-yard TD from Ryan in the first quarter and his second, a jaw-dropping, over-the-shoulder 40-yard score in the third quarter. Jones finished the contest with 9 receptions for 161 yards and 2 TDs.
5. Jackson-Led Rushing Attack: The Falcons ground game got moving Thursday night, headlined by RB Steven Jackson, who led the team with 14 carries for 54 yards and a 2-yard TD run. Fellow Falcons RB Antone Smith logged four carries for 50 yards, including a 38-yard TD run, down the left sideline in the third quarter, leading to the eventual 56-14 win.