Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans were left disappointed for more than one reason Thursday night. Not only did the Bucs lose for their second time in a row at home, they also lost two crucial players to their offense—Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, due to knee injuries.
Evans is under concussion protocol after a collision with safety Keanu Neal. Evans caught 11 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns before exiting the game. Winston left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, and like Evans he did not return back to the game.
More Bucs players that left the game with knee injuries were running back Antone Smith and center Joe Hawley. Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter says Winston claims to be fine but he is unaware of the status of the other players.
The game seemed promising for the Bucs since they were the first to put points on the board. Evans scored a touchdown after a three-yard pass from Winston. Kicker Roberto Aguayo sealed an extra point for the Bucs giving them an early 7-0 lead. However, the Falcons quickly responded with a touchdown from Levine Toilolo after a pass from Matt Ryan. Kicker Matt Bryant added the extra point for Atlanta bringing the game to a 7-7 tie. A field goal from Atlanta were the last points of the first, leaving the score 10-7 going into the second.
The second quarter was off to a quick start after Bryant kicked another field goal for the Falcons just 1:30 into quarter. The Bucs were able to briefly bring back the lead after a touchdown from Evans. Similar to the first quarter, Evans scored a touchdown thanks to a 29-yard pass from Winston. The touchdown and a kick from Aguayo was enough for the Bucs to regain a small 14-13 lead. However, the lead didn’t last long. Atlanta responded with Taylor Gabriel running for a nine-yard touchdown. Going into halftime the score was 20-14.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) November 4, 2016
The third was quiet for Tampa Bay and rowdy for Atlanta. Patrick DiMarco scored a touchdown for Atlanta after a one-yard pass from Ryan. Next, the Falcons attempted a two-point pass conversion but failed. Atlanta’s Julio Jones added to the board after a three-yard pass from Ryan. The slow third quarter was not the answer the Bucs needed to bring this game around. The score going into the fourth was 33-14.
The Bucs tried to make a comeback but the push wasn’t enough. Tampa Bay managed to score two touchdowns. But those two touchdowns were accompanied by a touchdown and a field goal by the Falcons which ultimately sealed the deal for Atlanta. The Winston injury also contributed to the Bucs failure to make a comeback. Winston says the team as well as himself just has to play better at home. The final score of the game was 43-28.
Next up for the Bucs, they will take on the Chicago Bears November 13.