Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs vs. Falcons: 5 things you might have missed

The Bucs' dramatic victory over the Falcons produced a few memories, but here are a few things you might have missed:

1 Will Gholston stepped up on a decimated defensive line. Gerald McCoy and Jacquies Smith, 1-2 in sacks for the Bucs, were out with injuries.

But third-year DE Gholston continued his strong play, stepping up with two sacks against Falcons QB Matt Ryan. Gholston, known as a top run stopper more than a pass rusher, had two sacks total in his previous 25 games before Sunday.

"Will Gholston, we've talked a lot about how he's improved," coach Lovie Smith said. "They kept answering the bell is what they did."

Gholston couldn't talk after the game because he was being evaluated for a concussion. The other three Bucs defensive ends Sunday were all first-year players: rookie Howard Jones; Josh Shirley, who got his second career tackle; and Kourtnei Brown, who got his first.

The Bucs defense held the Falcons to 64 rushing yards, their third-lowest total of the season, and came up with three sacks, matching the second most allowed by Atlanta in 2015.

"The big thing was still bottling the run game up," defensive line coach Joe Cullen said. "They had (Devonta) Freeman back, he's a heck of a back and that was the big thing: We got them away from their run game."

2 Two players most relieved by the Bucs' win: Doug Martin and Demar Dotson. Martin's fourth-quarter fumble set up a go-ahead touchdown for the Falcons, and Dotson, getting his first start at right tackle, had a huge holding penalty to negate a long Martin run on what would be the winning drive.

"I was tired. I didn't know if I was going to hold up," said Dotson, who played every offensive snap after missing eight games with a knee injury and playing only special teams in the past three games. "I was probably a little sloppy. I'm sure it was a good call. Jameis (Winston) came back with a big play. The guy's got a heart."

Martin had 55 yards on the first two drives, later scoring a touchdown for the first time in seven games and finishing with 95 rushing yards.

"We dealt with adversity today," he said. "I had the fumble. The important thing is that we won. We got over the hump. I'm proud of everybody."

3 Devin Hester had a very quiet game. A year ago, Hester returned a kick for a touchdown against his old Bears coach, Lovie Smith. Sunday, the Bucs had touchbacks on kickoffs and well-placed punts. Clearwater's Jeremiah George stopped him for a 3-yard return on his only punt return, and rookie WR Donteea Dye dropped him at the 11-yard line on one of his two kickoff returns.

4 Why did the Bucs go for two? They won, so it's moot, but 3:35 left in the third quarter is just too early to look to the what-should-I-do card and go for two, up 13-12 after their touchdown. The conversion failed, and instead of being able to win the game with a field goal on that final drive, the Bucs trailed 19-16, knowing a kick would only send it to overtime.

5 That Jameis Winston run, not suitable for print. The Bucs were at a loss for words about Winston's 20-yard scramble, including rookie G Ali Marpet. "(Expletive). Sorry, I can't curse. That was an amazing play," said Marpet, back at right guard after missing three games with an ankle injury. "My jaw just dropped. No (expletive) way."

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Defensive end William Gholston teams with  defensive tackle Henry Melton to sack Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan for a 1-yard loss in the second quarter. Gholston finishes with two sacks, equal to the number he had in his previous 25 games.


Defensive end William Gholston teams with defensive tackle Henry Melton to sack Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan for a 1-yard loss in the second quarter. Gholston finishes with two sacks, equal to the number he had in his previous 25 games.

Bucs vs. Falcons: 5 things you might have missed 12/06/15 [Last modified: Sunday, December 6, 2015 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived


    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  2. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity


    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  3. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support


    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  4. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  5. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now


    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.