Julio Jones erupts as Falcons defeat Buccaneers 34-20
In a week where the Falcons were riding a 2 game win streak, the largest since winning their first 3 games of the year, the Falcons arrived at their own home to battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1pm.
As 1 o’clock approached, there was a sense of urgency as the Falcons were in need of a divisional game victory as the sat at #3 in the NFC South.
After deferring to receive the ball to start the 2nd half, the Falcons allowed the Bucs to stroll down the field and ultimately put up 3 points to start the game. On the Falcons first possession, Matt Ryan shared the ball as he was able to connect with Austin Hooper and Taylor Gabriel to set up a game-tying 49 yard field goal.
After the 3-3 start to the game, both defenses hunkered down and forced punts on 3 consecutive series, that was until the Falcons struck first to start the 2nd quarter. Courtesy of a wildcat formation, WR Mohamed Sanu was able to connect on a 51 yard TD pass to who other than Julio Jones. After that reception, the flood gates opened and no one was able to stop Jet Jones.
Sensing that Julio was feeling it, the Falcons began to target him multiple times throughout drives. After forcing a 3 and out, the Falcons took over and opened up a 14 point lead with yet another TD grab by Julio Jones. After Julio only had 1 TD through 10 games, he and Matt Ryan were finally able to get on the same page and light up the stats sheet.
Many injuries in the Falcon’s secondary allowed the Bucs to climb back into the game. Injuries to CB’s Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole, gave the Bucs life and they made it somewhat close. Never getting any closer than 7 points, the Bucs defense just couldn’t stop Julio Jones. After lighting up the Carolina Panthers last year with 300 yards receiving, Julio almost matched that with 13 receptions for 253 yards and 2 TD.
Down the stretch, the Falcons relied on their RB’s to chew up valuable clock and they did just that with a dagger 14 yard TD run by Tevin Coleman sealed the game at 34-20.
The Falcons now sitting at a 7-4 record, look ahead with a matchup with the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday at 1pm.
With the remaining stretch of games for the Falcons, the most difficult in the NFL, they need to take it one game at a time and play their hearts out!