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Run Aground in Tampa Bay

J. Mike's Missives: 5 hours ago

This one hurt. No doubt about it, 100 percent sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt. This one hurt.

The Falcons dropped a division game today to Tampa Bay 24-9. It was a game that moved slow for the fan and even slower for the players involved. Neither team looked particularly crisp (19 combined penalties) and the Falcons were victims of a slow start.

Matt Ryan threw the first two interceptions of his career, which led to 10 points for the Bucs. The running game, which put up a franchise-record 318 yards a week ago, struggled to find footing against one of the league's most storied defenses.

Atlanta rushed for 105 yards in the game, 42 by Michael Turner.

The defense held the Bucs to less than 200 yards through the air, but missed on some third down opportunities.

But even when things failed to go to plan, the Birds held strong.

Ryan got hit more times than he'd care to admit. He was sacked four times, but met the turf on several other occasions.

Each time he went back to take charge in the huddle and, even in the fourth quarter, the Falcons weren't out of the game.

A field goal put the score at 17-9 before a late Earnest Graham touchdown run put the game out of reach. One possession game in the fourth quarter. Isn't that what the league is built upon?

If it isn't, I know it's based on a standard of excellence and the chance to get better each passing week.

In retrospect, close to everything went right for the Falcons in a big Week 1 win. Now they have the tape showing some things that went wrong.

I'm not a mind reader, but I already feel the assistant coaches looking for those "teachable moments." I can see disappointment on the face of every person in the traveling party, especially the team's rookies who are hungry for more victories.

There's a silver lining to be found in this game and it's not hard to see.

There's fight in these Birds.

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I agree. There was really no reason at all that we should have been in reach in this game. But, we hung in there and fought back, only to fall short at the very end. I did like seeing our Offense bounce back, have as many passing yards as TB and until that back breaking run by Graham, our D had done a very respectable job without Grady Jackson, and before tonight, I would not have thought that was remotelypossible.

celtik

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