Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Falcons: Falcons hope time off will help injured players

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — A short work week couldn't slow the Falcons' high-scoring offense.

The NFC South leaders now hope that having extra time off will provide an opportunity for some key players to recover from injuries.

The Falcons showed no signs of missing tight end Jacob Tamme and running back Tevin Coleman in Thursday night's 43-28 win at Tampa Bay. Tamme, the starter, was held out with a shoulder injury. Coleman, who has shared time with starter Devonta Freeman, was inactive due to a hamstring injury.

Atlanta also held out pass-rush specialist Dwight Freeney (quadriceps). Cornerback Desmond Trufant missed the second half with a shoulder injury.

Atlanta now has a long weekend off before playing at Philadelphia on Nov. 13, followed by a bye week. That's a good opportunity for rest and recovery. Not that the Falcons played like a team that needs a break.

"I was really pleased with the players and their readiness for the game," coach Dan Quinn said Friday. "I thought we had a real edge about us. It was really evident. We looked fresh, we looked fast going through it."

Quinn said he had no update on Trufant. He said he hoped Coleman could return against the Eagles. He said he expected to know more about both players Wednesday.

With Matt Ryan passing for 344 yards and four touchdowns — each to a different receiver — against the Bucs, the Falcons topped 40 points for the third time this season and strengthened their hold on first place in the NFC South.

Quinn called the win "another example of what we believe this team can be. The contributions continue to come from every man on the roster."

The win provided evidence of the Falcons' growth since opening the season with a 31-24 home loss to Tampa Bay.

"For me, that's like the best thing from a confidence standpoint is that we continue to get better week in and week out," Ryan said.

Quinn said the team is "a lot different, I thought, from Week 1 to Week 9. We showed we've improved in a number of areas in all three phases."

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