The Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn after blowing some big leads early this season, but that problem reared its head again on Sunday against the Buccaneers.
Atlanta led 17-0 at halftime and 24-7 in the third quarter, but the Buccaneers found their offensive footing over the final minutes of the game. They scored on five straight possessions and took the lead for good on Antonio Brown‘s 46-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
The score was Brown’s first as a Buccaneer and the 31-27 win pushes the team to the doorstep of the playoffs. They will have to wait at least one more week to make a trip official, but the comeback makes it a very good bet that Tom Brady‘s first season with the team will go further than his former team will go this year.
The win could also keep the NFC South in play. The Saints will clinch with a win over the Chiefs, but a loss will keep some hope alive in Tampa.
Brady was 31-of-45 for 390 yards and a pair of touchdowns after throwing for just 70 yards during the first half of the game. Brown had five catches for 93 yards, Mike Evans had six for 110 yards, and eight receivers had at least three catches for the Buccaneers over the course of the afternoon.
The win moves the Bucs to 9-5 on the season and they’ll be in Detroit to try for their 10th win of the year next weekend. They’ll need to be sharper in pass defense after giving up 356 yards to Ryan and they’ll be hoping the second half explosion by the offense is a sign of how things will go for the rest of the year.