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Falcons sink Bucs to snap five-game losing streak

Julio Jones piled up 119 off eight catches as the Atlanta Falcons fended off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-17 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Our takeaways:

  1. Matt Ryan and the Falcons looked like an NFC powerhouse when they dropped a 56-14 bomb on the Bucs in Week 3. Sunday's victory brought us closer to what they really are: An incomplete team laced with a handful of stars that needed another meeting with Tampa to snap a five-game losing streak. At 3-6, they're only relevant because of how awful the NFC South has become.
  1. Josh McCown -- not Mike Glennon -- is the better short-term option for this floating Bucs squad. The veteran passer engineered Tampa's best opening drive of the season with a 17-play march that chewed 8:36 off the clock and triggered a field goal. Still, McCown generated just 17 total points and threw two interceptions despite being sacked just once. The journeyman found seven different targets and played a cleaner game than anything we've seen from Glennon, but this remains a team in search of a franchise passer.
  1. Not to rain on Atlanta's parade, but this season's Falcons rely too heavily on Ryan and Julio Jones to carry the day. I see a team that can't win battles at the line of scrimmage, can't rush the passer from week to week and can't reliably run the ball -- against teams other than Tampa. They crossed 100 yards on the ground Sunday for the first time since September.
  1. Bobby Rainey was outstanding in the first half against the Browns last week, but the Bucs runner vanished against the Falcons. With just 14 yards off six totes, Rainey wasn't featured in a game plan that seemed determined to lean on McCown finding his tall pass-catchers. We did see the debut of rookie Charles Sims, who ran for 23 yards off eight attempts but killed Tampa with a third-quarter fumble.
  1. After dominating Browns center Nick McDonald last week, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy didn't appear in the halftime box score and finished with no sacks and zero quarterback hits.
  1. This is so Bucs: Lovie Smith closed the first half by icing Matt Bryant on a field goal attempt that the Falcons kicker missed. Bryant's second kick gave Atlanta the 13-10 lead at intermission. Why do coaches keep doing this?

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 10 game from an action-packed Sunday. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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