Late turnover leaves Bucs trailing Falcons 9-7 at halftime
The Bucs trail the Falcons 9-7 at halftime after a late INT led to a 52-yard FG by Shayne Graham. Here are some first half observations.
--Good start for Doug Martin: The league’s second leading rusher had 55 yards on 15 carries in the first half, much of it coming on the initial drive. The Bucs have really tested the perimeter of the Falcons defense with tosses to Martin, especially behind T Demar Dotson. Martin ran the ball six straight times to open the game.
--QB Jameis Winston is a factor running in the red zone: Winston made a good decision near the goal line, scrambling on a pass play and rushing 5-yard for a touchdown. It was his fifth rushing touchdown of the season.
--WRMike Evans still is dropping the ball: Evan has struggled catching the ball this season. He dropped the first the first pass attempt to him by Winston. Then just before the end of the first half, Evans was unable to secure a hot pass from Winston that deflected off his hands and was intercepted by Desmond Trufant. That set up a 52-yard FG by Shayne Graham to give the Falcons a 9-7 lead. Evans has three catches for 39 yards.
--The Bucs are getting some pressure on Ryan: Tampa Bay had two sacks in the first half of Ryan, one each by DE Williams Gholston and LB Kwon Alexander. But when rushing only four, they’ve been mostly ineffective. Ryan is 18-of-25 for 156 yards.
--Ball control will be important for the Bucs: Tampa Bay is short-handed on the defensive line and the Falcons are headed for another 400-yard plus day. Without turnovers, the Bucs have to limit the Falcons possessions and keep Ryan off the field in the second half.