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Winston, Bucs push Falcons to brink of extinction

Lavonte David's interception in the game's final minutes was the difference as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6) strengthened their playoff chances with a 23-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons (6-6) on Sunday. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Jameis Winston continues to look like a direct hit with the No. 1 pick. The biggest play of this game came with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, when Winston scrambled out of the pocket, bounced off several Atlanta defenders and picked up 20 yards on a third-and-19. Four plays later, Winston hit Mike Evans in the end zone for the winning touchdown. Winston is saving jobs and instilling hope in Tampa.
  1. This is a crushing loss for the Falcons, who have lost five straight and are now 6-6. They get the undefeated Panthers twice in the next three weeks, including next Sunday on the road. So long and good night. Red-zone failures and faulty tackling -- two issues of the past six weeks -- cropped up again here. It's pretty difficult to start a season 5-0, then have your season on life support in early December. The Falcons pulled it off.
  1. Devonta Freeman looked like an MVP candidate midway through October. But he -- like the Falcons as a whole -- has come back to Earth in a big way. Freeman hasn't gone over 100 yards in five weeks, and he doesn't have a rushing touchdown in that span, either. This is the same Freeman who had nine rushing scores in a five-game stretch earlier this season. With an inconsistent Matt Ryan unable to pick up the slack, it leaves Atlanta's offense stuck in neutral.
  1. Ryan hasn't been playing at his best, but the Falcons need to go out and get him more weapons. Ryan targeted Julio Jones 17 times, a necessity when there doesn't seem to be another Atlanta receiver capable of gaining separation. The days of Jones being flanked by Tony Gonzalez and peak Roddy White seem like forever ago. I'm sure Ryan agrees.
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