The Buccaneers (9-3) came into Sunday's matchup with the Falcons (5-7) looking to move one step closer to an NFC South title and one of the NFC's top playoff berths.
Well, the team did just that as they took care of business in the 30-17 win. Tom Brady tossed four touchdowns and the defense pitched a second half shutout as the Bucs cruised to their second division win of the year.
The Falcons won the toss, but deferred to the second half, so the Bucs offense received the ball to start the game.
Leonard Fournette kicked things off with a 15-yard catch-and-run, but Tampa Bay quickly faced a 3rd and 5 a few plays later. Tom Brady connected with Chris Godwin for 11-yards to not only get the first down, but move into Atlanta territory, as well.
Brady and the offense couldn't overcome a 3rd and 10, but Godwin's six-yard reception allowed them a chance to go for it on 4th and 4 from the Falcon 38. The Falcons pass rush couldn't get to Brady and he was able to find Fournette for a six-yard gain to move the chains.
A 13-yard completion to Mike Evans set the Bucs up with a 1st and 10 at Atlanta 14, but Tampa Bay faced another third down a couple of plays later. The Bucs converted the third down and also got six points out of the deal as Fournette made a tremendous over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone for the touchdown. Ryan Succop's PAT was good and the Bucs led, 7-0, with 9:53 to go in the first quarter. The Bucs passed 13 times on their opening drive and did not call one run play.
The Falcons faced a 3rd and 3 on the third play of their first drive, but Matt Ryan was able to complete a six-yard pass to Olamide Zaccheaus to keep the chains moving. Cordarrelle Patterson then broke off an impressive 39-yard run a couple of plays later and Mike Davis punched it in from 17-yards out to put the Falcons the board. Younghoe Koo's PAT was good and the game was now tied, 7-7, with 6:40 to go in the first quarter.
Godwin came through with his own big play just two plays into the Bucs' second drive as he reeled in a 25-yard catch over Richie Grant to move the Bucs into Falcon territory. Evans then added his own highlight-reel style catch with a 36-yarder down the right sideline to set Tampa Bay up with a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 11.
A holding call on Duron Harmon gave the Bucs a 1st and goal from the Falcon 3. The Bucs immediately made the Falcons pay for the penalty as Brady hit Cameron Brate in the right front corner of the end zone for his second touchdown pass of the day. Succop's PAT was no good, however, and the Bucs led, 13-7, with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
Kyle Pitts started Atlanta's next drive off with a 12-yard catch, but Ndamukong Suh sacked Ryan on 3rd and 3 to kill the drive a few plays later. Atlanta punted the ball away and the Bucs started their next drive at their own 20.
Brady just missed Rob Gronkowski over the middle on 3rd and 8, which resulted in the Bucs going three-and-out on their next drive. Bradley Pinion punted the ball and the Falcons started their next drive at their own 25.
It looked as if the Falcons were about to go three-and-out themselves, but Ryan did a great job to escape pressure found Russell Gage Jr. downfield for a 19-yard gain on 3rd and 10. Ryan then hit Pitts for a 29-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline on 3rd and 9 to set the Falcons up with a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 26.
Atlanta found itself with a 1st and 10 at the Bucs' 14 a few plays later, but Cam Gil broke through the offensive line and sacked Ryan for a loss eight yards. The Falcons overcame the sack with gains of 11- and 10-yards on the next two plays, which put them in a 1st and goal at the Tampa Bay 2.
Anthony Nelson was called for roughing the passer on first down, which gave Atlanta a new set of downs at the Bucs' 1. Ryan narrowly avoided disaster as he fumbled the snap on 2nd and goal, but recovered the ball. The loss of two yards was enough to cause Atlanta to pass on the ensuing 3rd and goal from the 3 and the Bucs defense held tough as Jamel Dean prevented the completion to Patterson. Koo came on to kick the 21-yard field goal and made the kick to make it a 13-10 game with 8:39 to go in the first half.
A 15-yard pass to Evans on 3rd and 10 kept the Bucs offense from its second straight three-and-out. Donovan Smith was called for a holding a few plays later that forced the Bucs into a 2nd and 14, but Brady hit Godwin for 17-yards to overcome the penalty and move the Bucs into Atlanta territory. Brady then found Gronk over the middle for a 27-yard catch-and-run touchdown to make it a 20-10 game with 4:54 left in the first half as Succop's PAT went through the uprights.
Vita Vea opened the Falcons' following drive with a sack on first down to force a 2nd and 18. It looked like the Bucs were going to hold them to a three-and-out, but Carlton Davis III was called for holding, which gave Atlanta an automatic first down.
The Falcons eventually moved into Tampa Bay territory, but ultimately fell short on a 3rd and 6 thanks to pressure by Devin White that forced a rushed throw by Ryan. The play was enough to force a Falcons punt instead of a 60-yard field goal attempt by Koo. The plan worked as Thomas Morstead's punt pinned the Bucs at their own 7 with two timeouts and :44 left in the first half.
Tragedy struck for the Bucs as they tried to get more points before halftime. Brady was picked off by Marlon Davidson on an attempted a screen pass to Fournette and Davidson took it to the house for six points. Koo's PAT was good and the Bucs lead was cut to 20-17 heading into halftime.
The Falcons were about to move into Tampa Bay territory thanks to a 20-yard catch-and-run by Gage, but Pierre Desir -who just came in for an injured Dean- punched the ball out of his hands and Davis recovered the ball, setting the Bucs up with a 1st and 10 at their own 37.
But Brady and Co. couldn't take advantage of the turnover and had to punt the ball back to the Falcons, who started the next drive at their own 16.
The Falcons slowly but surely moved into Tampa Bay territory as Gage ran 16-yards down the sideline to set the Falcons offense up with a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 43. The Bucs defense came through with its fourth sack of the game as Suh broke through the line for his second sack to force the Falcons punt.
Tampa Bay started its next drive at its own 13. Godwin and Fournette did the heavy lifting to move the Bucs out to midfield, gaining a combined 37-yards on six combined touches. The offense faced a 3rd and 7 not long after, but Brady hit Evans for 18-yards to set up a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 17.
It took six more yards before the Bucs faced a 3rd and 4 from the Falcons 11. Brady then hit Gronk for an over-the-shoulder pass that made it his fourth touchdown pass of the game and extended the lead to 27-17 with :29 left in the third quarter.
Atlanta's following drive ended as quickly as it began when Vea busted through the line for his second sack of the day. The Falcons went three-and-out and had to punt the ball away. The Bucs took over at their own 30 after a five-yard return by Giovani Bernard.
The Bucs offense moved into Atlanta territory, but eventually ran out of gas and had to punt. The Falcons took over at their own 16 looking to make it a one-score game.
Gage bailed the offense out with a huge 17-yard catch on 3rd and 14 to move the chains and the offense to midfield. Two Patterson runs placed the Falcons in Bucs territory, but the Bucs defense forced Ryan into an intentional grounding call, which forced the Falcons into a 4th and 12 at its own 47. They chose to punt the ball and Tampa Bay took over at its own 9.
It took just four plays for the Bucs to move into Falcon territory. Godwin's 36-yard catch-and-run keyed the drive to this point and the Bucs were in business with a 1st and 10 at the Falcon 43 with 5:36 left in the game.
The Bucs eventually drained the clock and abolished any hopes of a Falcon comeback with a 31-yard Succop field goal to make it a 30-17 game, which would be the final score.
The Bucs are now 9-3 on the year and will host the Buffalo Bills in Week 14. Kickoff is currently set for 1PM EST on Sunday, December 12.
Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.