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Time Machine: Smith Leads Streak Over Bucs

Atlanta is going for its fifth straight win in a row at home against Tampa Bay on Sunday, the longest streak in the series by either team at home.

The recent winning mark at the Dome for the Falcons began in the rookie season for head coach Mike Smith in 2008.

The Week 15 encounter pitted the 8-5 Falcons against the 9-4 Bucs with both teams in the playoff hunt.  

The Falcons marched out to a 10-0 lead on the strength of a 26-yard field goal by K Jason Elam and a 1-yard touchdown by RB Michael Turner in the first quarter.

The Bucs got back into the game with a seven-play, 67-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from QB Brian Griese to WR Antonio Bryant to close the gap to 10-7 at halftime.

The second half was a seesaw battle where both defenses were stingy on the scoreboard despite giving up chunks of yardage.

Turner started to churn out the yards the more carries he received, totaling 103 yards after intermission. But the Falcons offense wasn't able to capitalize on his output with any points. The Bucs were also shut down by a stout Falcons defense led by S Lawyer Milloy (team-high 12 tackles) and DE John Abraham (game-high 3 sacks) until the final minute.

Tampa Bay K Matt Bryant connected on a 30-yard field goal with just 48 seconds remaining to force the game into overtime.

The Bucs won the coin flip in the extra period, but were stymied after eight plays and had to punt.

The Falcons took over on their first possession of overtime at their own 29 and began a game-winning drive. The biggest play came on second and 10 on Tampa's 35-yard line. Turner took a handoff and bulldozed off right tackle for 17 yards down to the Bucs 18 to pull within serious field goal range.

After two short Turner runs, Elam calmly trotted on and drilled a 38-yarder for the 13-10 margin and victory number nine for first-year coach Mike Smith on the season. (The Bucs would go on to lose their last three games to finish 9-7 and out of the playoffs.)

For the second straight year, Atlanta plays host to its NFC South foe in the regular season finale on Sunday with playoff momentum on their minds and looking for a series season sweep for the fourth time.

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