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Bucs-Falcons report card: Tampa Bay puts up a real fight in loss to Atlanta

Charles Sims (34) carries the ball during the second quarter. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Dec. 18, 2017

I'll tell you what, man … of the hour

It was Jon Gruden's night every bit as much as Joe Jurevicius was open over the middle that night in Philadelphia. Gruden was inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime after a moving introduction by Keyshawn Johnson.

Actually, that did not happen.

Actually, what happened is embattled Bucs coach Dirk Koetter and the Bucs threw down, maybe one last time, and put up a real fight in a 24-21 loss to the Falcons, who needed the win. Without Gerald McCoy. Without Lavonte David. They went all in. Enough to save Koetter's job? We'll get back to you.

Play of the night

Grade: A

Brad Johnson handed to Mike Alstott, who ran in for the first Bucs touchdown … in Super Bowl XXXVII — all for Gruden during the halftime ceremony.

Doug Martin he gone pop quiz: name the violation.

Grade: F

In a perfectly fitting moment for a season that never came together, clown running back Doug Martin was inactive because of an unspecified violation of team rules. Martin already had one foot out the door. That door just hit him in the rear end. Peyton Barber might just work out if he gets an offensive line. Oh, and if he doesn't fumble.

Tough spot

Grade: B

Give Koetter credit. There are easier things than being a 4-9 Bucs coach on Jon Gruden Night. Give Jameis Winston credit, too. He played well. Now, beware Sunday at Carolina.

The future is his

Grade: A

Bucs tight end O.J. Howard is one of the few bright spots this dark season. Howard was at it again Monday, taking a short pass from Winston, racing down the sideline before lunging for the pylon and six points. Officials reviewed the play and awarded the Patriots a touchdown. No, it was Howard. This kid has a great future. That was us, not Gruden. Oh, Howard was injured on the play.

Nice touch

Grade: F

Outgoing Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith has tried to cover Atlanta's Julio Jones with every coverage known to man, except … 10 men on the field. It worked. A thoroughly confused Jones could only watch helplessly as teammate Justin Hardy caught a touchdown for a 7-0 lead.

Others receiving votes

Grade: B

Possible future Bucs Ring of Honor candidates: Simeon Rice, Brad Johnson, Hardy Nickerson. Brian Kelly, James Wilder, Ricky Bell, Richard "Batman" Wood, Guy who made Gruden's alarm clock, Guy who reminded Gruden what his home phone number was, Guy who reminded Gruden to remind everyone to "pound the rock," guy who told Gruden which Glazer was which, Guy who told him, 'No, Jon, that's Ed, he's a Glazer, too.'

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