Falcons defeat rival Tom Brady, Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage (17) makes a touchdown catch against Atlanta...
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage (17) makes a touchdown catch against Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (24) during the first half of an NFL football game(Associated Press)
Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 4:46 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Atlanta Falcons defeated their NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-17 on Sunday afternoon at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Quarterback Tom Brady was previously undefeated against the Falcons in his illustrious career with an 11-0 record including the Super Bowl 51 win during the 2016 season.

The Falcons (7-10) and the entire NFC south division had a year they’d like to forget.

To begin the game, Brady led a 10-play, 70-yard drive and found tight end Kyle Rudolph in the back of the end zone for a touchdown that chewed five minutes off the clock.

After forcing a punt by the Buccaneers, rookie Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder led the Falcons down the field to tie the game 7-7 with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter. He recorded his first career touchdown pass.

On their next offensive possession, Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin had the ball stripped and the Falcons recovered the fumble near the 30-yard line.

Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo made the 49-yard field goal and the Falcons take a 10-7 lead as the final seconds ticked away in the first quarter.

After trading punts, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert took over for Brady. Brady finished 13-17 for 84 yards and a touchdown with a 106 QBR.

Gabbert led a 5-play drive and found former Falcons receiver Russell Gage for a touchdown. Gage seemed banged up on the catch and needed help getting off of the field. Bucs lead 17-10.

The Falcons cut the lead to 17-13 on their first offensive possession after halftime. Ridder led an 80-yard touchdown drive that chewed up seven minutes and the Falcons have a 20-17 lead as the fourth quarter nears.

The Falcons dominated the second half, outscoring the Buccaneers 20-0 while getting some impressive plays from all three phases.

The Buccaneers finish the regular season with an 8-9 record but they won the NFC South after beating the Carolina Panthers in Week 17.