It's a roughly 90 minute flight from Tampa to Atlanta, but the Bucs were sleepwalking in the 1st half vs. the Falcons. Slow starts have plagued this team all season, but today was extreme. They fell behind 17-0 and by the end of the 2nd Quarter they had put up a donut like this was a Saturday morning at the Katz residence. Big Cat's assessment wasn't looking that far off-base:
But the Bucs were set to receive the ball to start the 2nd half and they made the most of it scoring seven with WR Mike Evans making some big plays on the drive. Tampa Bay was without their ironman Left Tackle Donovan Smith and their usual vertical passing game was slightly truncated as Tom Brady didn't have as much time as he's used to. But they did a good job converting critical 3rd downs in Atlanta after halftime.
On the other side of the ball, after giving up a 60% conversion rate on 3rd downs in the 1st half, the Bucs turned up the pressure in the 2nd half and made some critical stops. LB Devin White had three huge sacks, two of which came on 3rd downs in the 4th quarter:
The game winning score came from a guy who caught his first touchdown all season, Antonio Brown.
The Bucs are now 9-5 and head to Detroit next week. Their playoff chances are all but officially assured and this team is looking to finish strong down the stretch. They certainly aren't a fraud.