Atlanta's quick-strike air attack carved through Lovie Smith's injury-riddled defense from wire to wire, as Ryan completed his first six passes and never looked back for an offense that piled up 16 first downs before Tampa earned its first.
Facing a swarm of three-wideout sets, the Bucs were no match for the combination of Julio Jones and Devin Hester. Jones piled up an outrageous 121 yards by halftime, while a rejuvenated Hester drove a nail into Tampa's coffin early in the second quarter with a 20-yard end around that carved out a 28-0 lead.
Hester was a revelation. After reversing a would-be Tampa fumble recovery with a strip of Bucs safety Mark Barron, the jitterbug broke Deion Sanders' record with his 20th career return touchdown. It's especially embarrassing for Smith that Atlanta has found a way to showcase Hester on offense when Lovie's Bears never cracked that code.
Why Tampa continued to kick the ball to Hester deep into the game remains one of life's rich mysteries.
Before exiting with a right thumb injury, Bucs quarterback Josh McCown steered a lost vessel as Tampa was held to 63 yards on its first eight drives.
When the Falcons operate at this level, they rage around the field as a maddening headache for opponents. The Bucs offered no answer, no retort and no antidote for what Atlanta poured out on Thursday night.
The NFC South is on high alert.