Atlanta Falcons outlast Buccaneers to win 3rd in a row

Falcons vs. Buccaneers Final Week 12 injury reports

Falcons vs. Buccaneers Final Week 12 injury reports

Julio Jones is so good and so vital to the Falcons that, with Atlanta leading by touchdowns in the third quarter against the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Buccaneers, his presence on the field triggered an internal alarm of sorts.

In the process of dominating Tampa Bay's secondary, Jones surpassed Hall of Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth for the most receiving yards and Anquan Boldin for most receptions for a player through his first 90 National Football League games, according to the Falcons' official website.

The Bucs drove to the Falcons 19 after a 37-yard return by Brett Grimes following a fumble by Terron Ward killed a long drive, but safety Keanu Neal knocked away a fourth-and-1 pass by Ryan Fitzpatrick with seven minutes remaining.

numberFire's models projected Ryan for 20.9 FanDuel points and he slightly underachieved with 16.8 on Sunday.

Sanu's bomb to Jones out of the wildcat formation early in the second quarter to break a 3-3 tie was the six-year veteran's third National Football League touchdown pass. Sanu botched a fake handoff to Tevin Coleman, but regained control of the ball and hit Jones in the end zone.

What could've been a disaster after a fumble by Atlanta running back Terron Ward in the red zone, the Falcons defense picked the flawless time to make a key stop to give the ball back to Ryan and the offense.

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Jones had a total of eight explosive plays (catches of 20-plus or runs of 15-plus yards).

After Halftime, the Falcons marched down the field again on Tampa Bay's defense, finishing off the drive with an Atlanta running back Tevin Coleman touchdown run to give the Falcons a 27-6 lead. The Bucs had RT Demar Dotson and C Ali Marpet leave with knee injuries and RB Doug Martin suffer a concussion, all in the second quarter.

The Buccaneers defense is going to have nightmares about Jones until they face the Falcons again on December 18.

That's a big improvement over where they were at the beginning of the month, having lost four of five games to raise serious questions about whether they'd even get back to the playoffs, much less duplicate their run to the Super Bowl.

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