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Notes & Milestones: Falcons vs. Bucs


Atlanta will play the winner of the NFC East in the NFC Wildcard playoff round after its win over Tampa Bay and Detroit's loss to Green Bay.

  • Atlanta wrapped up the 2011 regular season with a 45-24 win over Tampa Bay at the Georgia Dome to give the Falcons a 10-6 overall record. This season, marks the third time in the last four years that the Birds have reached the 10-win plateau. With Detroit's loss to Green Bay, both the Falcons and Lions finished the season at 10-6, Atlanta owns the head-to-head tie breaker and becomes the fifth seed in the 2011 NFC playoffs. The Falcons will play at the winner of tonight's Giants-Cowboys game in the NFC Wildcard playoff round.
  • Head coach Mike Smith has posted a four-year record of 43-21, which is not only the best four-year mark in team history, but ranks among the best records in NFL history for first-time head coaches. Smith is tied with Bill Cowher (Pittsburgh – '92-95), Mike Martz (St. Louis – '00-03), Mike Sherman (Green Bay – '00-03), and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh – '07-10) for the fourth-best four-year record among first time head coaches. Only George Seifert (San Francisco – '89-92), Chuck Knox (LA Rams – '73-76) and John Harbaugh (Baltimore – '08-11) recorded better records in their first four seasons.
  • Smith recorded his third season with 10-or-more wins and is the first coach in team history to record multiple 10-win seasons. The 2011 season marks the seventh time in franchise history the club has recorded 10-plus wins and the first time the team has accomplished the feat in consecutive seasons.
  • Atlanta opened the game with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by rookie RB Jacquizz Rodgers. The score was Rodgers first career rushing touchdown and his second overall touchdown. This season, the Falcons scored 51 points on their first offensive possessions. Since 2008, Atlanta leads the League with 173 points on its opening drives.
  • QB Matt Ryan broke the franchise record for passing yards in a single season when he hit WR Julio Jones for a 48-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Ryan eclipsed QB Jeff George's club record of 4,143 yards set in 1995. Ryan finished the 2011 season with 4,177 passing yards and is just the second quarterback in franchise history to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.
  • WR Roddy White became the Falcons all-time leading receiver when he hauled in a 16-yard pass from QB Chris Redman in the second half. White, who now has 7,374 career receiving yards, broke WR Terance Mathis' franchise record of 7,349 receiving yards set between 1994 and 2001.
  • White finished the game with four receptions for 69 yards. This season, he totaled 100 receptions for 1,296 yards and eight touchdowns. He recorded his 100th catch of the season in the third quarter when he caught an 18-yard pass from Redman and became the first receiver in team history to post two seasons with 100-or-more catches. White totaled a franchise record 115 receptions in 2010.
  • Ryan got off to a quick start completing six of nine pass attempts for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. His two touchdown passes also established a new career high of 29 scoring strikes. The fourth-year signal caller threw 28 touchdown passes in 2010.
  • Ryan finished the game completing six of nine pass attempts for 106 yards and two touchdowns with a passer rating of 146.3, marking the highest quarterback rating of his career. Ryan's previous best was 138.4 set on 11/2/08 at Oakland. Earlier this season, he recorded a 137.3 passer rating in the Falcons' Week 15 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Falcons own a 23-0 record when Ryan has a QB rating of 100-or-better.
  • Ryan ended the season with a streak of 166 straight pass attempts and 16 quarters without throwing an interception. Last season, he threw a career-best 185 straight passes without an interception, which tied Chris Miller and ranked second in team history. In the final four games of the regular season, he completed 81 of 125 passes (65 percent) for 1,023 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions with a passer rating of 116.9.
  • This season, Ryan completed 347 of 566 pass attempts (61.3 percent) with a franchise record 4,177 yards and a career-high 29 touchdown passes against 12 interceptions. Ryan's 92.2 passer rating this season is also a career best.
  • RB Michael Turner punched in a one-yard touchdown on fourth and goal for his 49th touchdown as a Falcon, breaking RB Gerald Riggs franchise record of 48 touchdowns set between 1982 and 1988. The record stood for 23 years and took Turner just four seasons to break.
  • The one-yard score was Turner's 10th touchdown of the season. He became the first running back in franchise history to post four consecutive seasons with 10-or-more touchdowns.
  • Turner broke an 81-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for his second score, giving him 50 career touchdowns as a Falcon. He is the third player in Falcons history to record 50-or-more touchdowns in a career. He joins WR Terance Mathis (57) and WR Andre Rison (56) as the only players to accomplish that feat.
  • Turner's 50 touchdowns since 2008 are the second most in the NFL during that time span. Only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has found the endzone more times, notching 52 rushing TDs.
  • Turner finished the game with a season-high 172 yards on 17 carries with two touchdown and averaged 10.1 yards per carry. His 172-yard performance was the ninth-best in team history and his fifth game with 150-or-more rushing yards. He ends the season with 1,340 yards and 10 touchdowns, marking his second consecutive 1,300-yard campaign and the fourth straight year he's scored 10-or-more touchdowns.
  • Turner's 172 yards on the ground marked his 25th 100-yard game as a Falcon, tying Gerald Riggs franchise record for 100-yard games. Riggs notched 25 100-yard games between 1982 and 1988. Turner posted six 100-yard games this season.
  • Jones caught a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, giving him eight touchdowns in his first season in the NFL. He set a Falcons rookie record with his 17-yard score on Atlanta's second offensive possession, breaking the previous high of six touchdown catches shared by WR Alfred Jenkins and WR Ken Mitchell.
  • Jones finished the game with four catches for a game-high 76 yards. In his last four games, the rookie out of Alabama broke out with 20 catches for 393 yards and six touchdowns. Jones caught a touchdown in each of the last four games, including two scores in Sunday's win over the Buccaneers and in Atlanta's Week 14 win over the Panthers.
  • Despite missing three games because of injury, Jones posted the best season by a Falcons rookie receiver after notching 54 receptions for 959 yards and eight touchdowns. He recorded more yards and touchdowns than any Falcons rookie before him and only Shawn Collins caught more passes in his first season when he pulled down 58 balls in 1989.
  • White kicked off the record setting day when he hauled in a 22-yard catch on a third-down play on the Falcons opening drive. The catch marked White's 74th first down reception of the season, topping his previous club record of 73 first down catches set in 2010.
  • LB Curtis Lofton continued to be a pace setter for the defense, intercepting a pass from QB Josh Freeman and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. The score was Lofton's first career touchdown and his third career interception. It was the Falcons second pick six of the season, with the first coming in the season opener at Chicago on DE Kroy Biermann's 50-yard interception return.
  • Lofton finished game with 14 tackles (eight solo), one tackle for loss and one interception. The fourth-year middle linebacker from Oklahoma finished the season with 167 total tackles (101 solo).
  • CB Dominique Franks recorded an interception for the second consecutive game when he picked off Freeman on the Buccaneers second offensive possession. Franks has two interceptions this season.
  • The Falcons racked up 42 points in the first half, topping their franchise best of 35 points set against San Francisco on 10/11/09. Atlanta's 42-point outburst also topped the 38 points it scored at New Orleans on 9/16/73. The Birds notched 21 points in the first quarter for the sixth time in team history, with the last time coming against Detroit on 9/7/08.
  • Defensively, the Falcons got back to their run stuffing ways holding the Buccaneers to 35 yards on 14 carries and just 2.5 yards per rush. Atlanta improved its record to 25-6 when holding opponents under 100 yards rushing. Sunday's win marks the ninth time The Falcons have held their opponent under 100 yards on the ground. The Birds are 6-3 in such games this season and have now held 13 of their last 22 opponents under the century mark.
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