Ryan inspires Falcons to victory
Matt Ryan was the star of the show as he rallied the Atlanta Falcons to a 24-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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Ryan threw for 353 yards and overcame two critical turnovers by leading another late touchdown drive.
He teamed with Julio Jones on an 80-yard TD midway through the third quarter, but the NFC South leaders found themselves trailing 23-17 after the Bucs marched for a touchdown, then forced a fumble by Ryan to set up a field goal that put the Falcons in catch-up mode with 10 minutes to go.
Michael Turner's 3-yard TD run put Atlanta ahead for good with 7:55 left. Connor Barth missed a 56-yard goal for Tampa Bay (6-5) in the closing minutes, and the Bucs' four-game winning streak ended when Josh Freeman's desperation pass fell incomplete in the end zone with no time remaining.
Ryan started the game with 10 straight completions before Ronde Barber's interception and 28-yard return to the Atlanta 31 led to Barth's first field goal.
Doug Martin scored on a pair of 1-yard run for the Bucs, however the rookie who began the day leading the NFL in total yards from scrimmage was limited to 50 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Atlanta converted six of eight first downs and outgained the Bucs 239 yards to 105 in the opening half, yet it was 10-10 at the break because the Falcons settled for a field goal after holding the ball for more than seven minutes of its first scoring drive, Ryan's interception and Bryant's missed field goal.
The win enabled the Falcons (10-1) to keep pace with Houston for the NFL's best record. Turner also scored a fourth-quarter TD that helped the Falcons overcome six turnovers to beat Arizona 23-19 last week.