Devonta Freeman rushed for 126 yards and a landing to assist the Atlanta Falcons keep shut within the tight NFC South race with a 24-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night time.
Freeman scored on a 32-yard run halfway by way of the fourth quarter, restoring a ten-level lead for the Falcons (eight-5), who then barely held on to win for the fifth time in six video games and stay one recreation behind New Orleans and Carolina within the division standings.
Freeman additionally caught 5 passes for a staff-excessive sixty eight yards and had a primary-half fumble recovered in the long run zone by teammate Levine Toilolo for a landing. Matt Ryan threw an early TD cross to Justin Hardy and completed 17 of 31 passing for 212 yards and no interceptions.
Jameis Winston threw for 299 yards and three TDs for the Bucs (four-10), together with a sixteen-yarder to Adam Humphries that trimmed Atlanta’s result in 24-21 with three:fifty one remaining.
Winston, who additionally threw TD passes of 30 yards to O.J. Howard and forty two yards to Mike Evans, received the ball again with a minute left and almost despatched the sport into additional time.
The third-yr professional accomplished three straight passes to maneuver the ball from his 29 to the Atlanta 36. Patrick Murray got here on to attempt a fifty four-yard area aim to tie it, however the kick sailed large proper as time expired.
The Falcons play at New Orleans subsequent Sunday, then shut the common season at residence towards Carolina _ the 2 groups they’re chasing within the division race.
The Bucs have misplaced 9 of eleven following a 2-1 begin, taking a step again after ending 9-7 a yr in the past of their first season underneath coach Dirk Koetter.
RING OF HONOR
Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who’s spent the previous 9 seasons as ESPN’s recreation analyst on Monday Night time Soccer, was inducted into the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium throughout a halftime ceremony.
Gruden was acquired from the Oakland Raiders in change for 2 first-spherical draft picks, two second-spherical draft decide and $eight million earlier than main the 2002 Bucs to the membership’s solely Tremendous Bowl championship in his first season in Tampa Bay.
Gruden was fired after the 2008 season and moved into the printed sales space the next season. The Bucs have not made the playoffs since 2007 and do not have a postseason win since their Tremendous Bowl run 15 years in the past.
The coach’s sons _ Deuce, Mike and Jayson _ led the Bucs out of the tunnel earlier than the sport because the workforce’s honorary flag runners.
Gruden is the eleventh member of the Ring of Honor, becoming a member of Corridor of Famers Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, in addition to Doug Williams, John Lynch, John McKay, Mike Alstott, Jimmie Giles, Paul Gruber and Malcom Glazer.
Falcons: RB Tevin Coleman (concussion) and G Andy Levire (triceps) didn’t play.
Buccaneers: Performed with out their prime two gamers, DT Gerald McCoy (biceps) and LB Lavonte David (hamstring), who have been inactive. … Howard (ankle) limped off the sector after being hit close to the aim line on his TD and didn’t return. … G J.R. Sweezy suffered what was described as a decrease physique damage within the second quarter and…