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Notes & Milestones: Falcons vs. Bucs


A goal-line stand in the fourth quarter propels the Falcons into the NFC South lead at 6-2

  • The Falcons improved their record to 21-1 under head coach Mike Smith when they hold the lead at halftime. Despite the Buccaneers penchant for late game heroics, Atlanta held the Bucs scoreless in the fourth quarter, including a fourth quarter goal-line stand to seal the win.
  • Atlanta improves to an NFC-best 6-2 in 2010 with the win. Since 2008, the Falcons are 26-14 under Smith, including an impressive 17-3 at the Georgia Dome. The Birds .850 winning percentage at home over the last two seasons is tied for the League lead with the Minnesota Vikings (17-3, .850) and New England Patriots (17-3, .850).
  • Smith emphasizes the importance of starting fast to his players on a daily basis. That focus helped the Falcons jump to an early 17-7 lead, scoring on their first three possessions. Smith also places a premium on finishing strong. In addition to outscoring the Bucs 10-7 in the second half, Atlanta also improved its record to 21-1 when holding the lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
  • The Falcons drove 61 yards on 13 plays on the game's opening drive, taking a 7-0 lead on a two-yard touchdown run by RB Michael Turner. QB Matt Ryan completed four of five pass attempts and Turner carried the ball eight times for 28 yards on the opening drive. Atlanta has scored on its opening drive for the second straight game and the third time this season. Turner's score marked the Falcons first rushing touchdown on their opening drive in 2010.
  • Since 2008, Atlanta has scored 98 points on its first offensive possessions.
  • Turner put together an impressive first half, carrying the ball 13 times for 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Turner has posted back-to-back multi-touchdown games, marking the second time in his career that he has accomplished that feat.
  • Since 2008, Turner is one of just four running backs to post eight or more multi-touchdown games. Only Tennessee RB Chris Johnson (11 games) and New York Jets RB LaDanian Tomlinson (nine games) have recorded more games with multiple rushing TDs in the last three seasons, while Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has also logged eight such games.
  • Turner finished the game with 107 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, marking his fourth 100-yard game of the season and his second in the last two games. Turner has carried the ball 47 times for 228 yards and four touchdowns in the Falcons last two games, marking the fourth time in his career that he has posted back-to-back 100-yard games. He's also topped 100 yards on the ground in four of his last six games.
  • TE Tony Gonzalez continued his climb up the NFL's all-time receiving list. With a 16-yard catch in the second quarter, Gonzalez moved into 16th place on the NFL's all-time receiving list passing Charlie Joyner (12,146). He is also the 17th player in NFL history to record over 12,100 career receiving yards.
  • TE Michael Palmer caught his first career touchdown pass in the third quarter, hauling in a five-yard pass from Ryan. Palmer's score capped a seven-play, 30-yard drive and put the Falcons up 24-14. Palmer is the first Falcons rookie to catch a touchdown pass since WR Harry Douglas caught his first TD on 11/30/08 at San Diego. The first-year player was originally signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft. He played collegiately at Clemson University and locally at Parkview High School.
  • Ryan completed 24 of 36 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown, and posted a passer rating of 94.1. Since becoming the starter in 2008, Ryan owns a 17-1 record including 13 consecutive wins at the Dome and is 19-4 when playing indoors. Ryan's 17 wins at home are the most among all quarterbacks in the last three seasons. His .945 winning percentage at home is second to only New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (13-0, 1.000).
  • Atlanta's offense has thrived on ball control in 2010, posting 19 scoring drives of 10-plays or more. Entering today's game, the Falcons ranked second in the NFL in 10-play scoring drives behind the Indianapolis Colts. Atlanta posted four scoring drives of 10 plays or more, including a 10-play, 99-yard drive ending in a 10-yard touchdown run by Turner in their win over Tampa Bay.
  • LB Mike Peterson recorded his first sack of the season when he dragged down Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman for a seven-yard loss on Tampa Bay's first drive of the game. The loss set up a third down and 19, which led to a Bucs punt. On the ensuing drive, Atlanta went 99 yards in ten plays for a touchdown.
  • DT Jonathan Babineaux notched the second interception of his career, and his first since 2006, when he picked off Freeman on the third play of the second half. DE Kroy Biermann rushed into the backfield untouched, forcing Freeman to try a desperation pass which Babineaux caught at the line of scrimmage.
  • Following Babineaux's interception, Turner broke a 19-yard run bringing the ball down to the Buccaneers' 11-yard line. The Falcons finished off the drive with Ryan's five-yard touchdown pass to Palmer. In 2010, Atlanta has posted 57 points on 17 takeaways and ranks among the NFC leaders in scoring after takeaways.
  • The Falcons have recorded 13 picks in 2010, just two shy of their season total in 2009 and three more than the team's total in 2008. With Babineaux's interception, each defensive position has recorded at least one interception. Defensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback, safety and all three linebacker positions have picked off a pass this season.
  • CB Brent Grimes picked off Freeman with just under 12 minutes to play. It was Grimes' second pick of the season and the ninth of his career. Originally signed as a rookie free agent in 2007 out of Shippensburg, the fourth-year man ranks second among all undrafted players in interceptions since 2008.
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