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Falcons already in a giving spirit

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Four Atlanta Falcons turnovers led to 20 points for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is too many for any game, and certainly far too many for a 23-20 overtime game.

The Bucs accepted that win just as they did the turnovers — gladly.

For the Falcons, that made a dozen turnovers in the last four games.

Atlanta wasted two trips inside Tampa Bay’s five-yard line in the first half. All the Falcons could manage was a 21-yard field goal by Matt Bryant. The Falcons had two fumbles and an interception.

Coach Dan Quinn preaches taking care of the football, but Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones had the ball taken away from him by Tampa Bay linebacker Kwon Alexander; center Mike Person skidded a shot gun snap off the turf; quarterback Matt Ryan’s pass intended for tight end Jacob Tamme was intercepted by Alexander and Ryan botched a handoff to Devonta Freeman.

“That was on me,” Ryan said.

Ryan also had a fumble in overtime that was recovered by Freeman.

–The Falcons drove to Tampa Bay’s three- and four-yard-lines on their first and third possessions of the game, but could only muster a field goal. On the third possession, center Mike Person’s had the poor snap that Matt Ryan should have recovered.

The knock on Falcons coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offense was that it bogs down inside the red zone. After a hot start, the Falcons have been thwarted in the red zone and have been committing turnovers.

After the first four games, the Falcons were 10 of 14 scoring (80 percent) touchdowns in the red zone. The Falcons are 7 of 16 (43.7 percent) over the last four games.

In five of his seven years as a coordinator, Shanahan’s units finished in the lower half of the league in red-zone percentage with rankings of 26th, 12th, 19th, 29th, fourth, tied for 20th and 24th.

–For the second game this season, the Falcons had trouble with the quarterback and center exchange.

Center Mike Person’s wayward shotgun snap cost the Falcons a chance for at least three points. The Falcons had a second-and-goal at the four-yard-line in the second quarter when Person’s snap was low and to the left of Ryan, who couldn’t handle it.

Neither Ryan nor running back Devonta Freeman could recover the ball as it bounced away. Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith scooped it up and returned it to the 22. The Bucs converted that turnover into a 23-yard field goal by Barth that put them ahead 6-3 with 3:32 until halftime.

–The Falcons were without starting safety William Moore because of a groin injury, then finished the game with three-fourths of the secondary starters out after cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (lower back) and Robert Alford (groin) left the game.

Phillips Adams and Jalen Collins finished the game at cornerback. Ricardo Allen and Kemal Ishmael were the safeties.

Trufant’s injury is more like a bruise without any structural damage. He’s expected to be available for San Francisco.

–When he wasn’t giving the ball to the opposition, quarterback Matt Ryan led the Falcons offense to 496 total yards, which is the highest total the team recorded since Week 13 of 2014 versus the Arizona Cardinals. Ryan completed 37-of-45 passes for 397 yards and two touchdowns. Sunday marked Ryan’s fourth-best passing yardage total, and his highest total since Week 1 of 2014 versus the New Orleans Saints. Ryan also moved his League-high streak of games with at least 250 passing yards to 15, which dates to Week 11 of 2014.

–Running back Devonta Freeman rushed 21 times for 88 yards. The Falcons offense recorded 101 rushing yards against the Buccaneers. Sunday marked the sixth consecutive game the offense has rushed for more than 100 yards.

–Wide receiver Julio Jones finished the day with 12 catches for 162 yards, his second highest receiving total of the season.

This 100-yard game was Jones’ fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season.

–Cornerback Desmond Trufant left the Bucs game because of a lower back injury. He’s recovering “well,” according to coach Dan Quinn.


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