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Sunday December 16, 2007 - BuccaneersFan BUCS helmet Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons Sunday December 16, 2007 - BuccaneersFan BUCS classic helmet

Sunday December 16, 2007 - Home Game

WON - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37 Atlanta Falcons 03

The Buccaneers stayed home this week for a rematch against their division rivals the Atlanta Falcons. With the convincing victory, Tampa Bay clinched the NFC South division title, maintained a perfect 5–0 division record, and scored their first kickoff return touchdown in franchise history.

Tampa Bay's defense recorded the first points of the game, as Ronde Barber intercepted Chris Redman's pass on the third play of the game and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Atlanta got on the board next with kicker Morten Andersen making a 33-yard field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, Micheal Spurlock made team history by becoming the first Buccaneer player to return a kickoff for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return touchdown for Tampa Bay in 32 seasons, 498 games, and 1,865 attempts.

After the Buccaneers defense forced a Falcons punt, Jeff Garcia commandeered a long, clock-eating 10-minute drive ending in a 33-yard field goal by Matt Bryant to make the score 17–3. With just over five minutes remaining in the first half, Tampa bay recovered an Atlanta fumble, and Earnest Graham scored a 1-yard TD run. Graham became the first player in club history to score a touchdown in six consecutive games. With a 24–3 lead, Tampa Bay performed a pooch kickoff, and Atlanta muffed the return, while Kalvin Pearson recovered. Tampa Bay drove to the 24-yard line, but DeAngelo Hall intercepted a pass intended for Joey Galloway at the Atlanta 11-yard line. The Buccaneers would immediately regain possession as Greg White forced and recovered a fumble on the next play. Matt Bryant then easily converted a 28-yard field goal to take a 27–3 lead into halftime.

The Buccaneers would receive the second half's opening kickoff, but was forced to punt after a 7-minute drive. On Atlanta's third play, Jermaine Phillips intercepted a pass intended for Jerious Norwood which set Tampa Bay up at the Atlanta 23-yard line. Matt Bryant then scored the half's first points with a 34-yard field goal to make the score 30–3. In the fourth quarter, punter Josh Bidwell successfully pinned Atlanta at their own 6-yard line. The resulting poor field position eventually led to Tampa Bay taking over near midfieldied Michael Bennett carried six times all the way to the Atlanta 1-yard line, from which Anthony Becht scored the game's final points off a 1-yard TD catch.

Statistically, Tampa Bay's defense dominated Atlanta. The Falcons managed only 133 yards of total offense, committed five turnovers, and were 0-for-9 on third down conversions. The Falcons crossed midfield only once, and Tampa Bay's time of possession was 43 minutes. On the following Wednesday, the kickoff return touchdown earned Spurlock the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award.

GAMEDAY BRIEF

  • WEATHER: Sunny - 68°F. - Humidity 60% - Wind N.W. 25-35 mph
  • OFFICALS
    • REFEREE: Jeff Triplette
    • UMPIRE: Jim Quirk
    • HEAD LINESMAN: Steve Stelljes
    • LINE JUDGE: Jeff Seeman
    • SIDE JUDGE: Greg Meyer
    • BACK JUDGE: Gregory Steed
    • FIELD JUDGE: Duke Carroll
    • REPLAY OFFICAL: Bill Spyskma
    • VIDEO OPERATOR: Not Documented
    SCORING
    • BUCCANEERS: 14:00-1Q Barber 29 interception return (Bryant kick)
    • FALCONS: 6:32-1Q Andersen FG33
    • BUCCANEERS: 6:19-1Q Spurlock 90 kickoff return (Bryant kick)
    • BUCCANEERS: 11:24-2Q Bryant FG33
    • BUCCANEERS: 4:09-2Q Graham 1 run (Bryant kick)
    • BUCCANEERS: 0:00-2Q Bryant FG28
    • BUCCANEERS: 4:08-3Q Bryant FG34
    • BUCCANEERS: 7:42-4Q Becht 1 pass from Garcia (Bryant kick)
    STARTERS OFFENSE
    • WR: #84 J. Galloway
    • LT: #70 D. Penn
    • LG: #78 A. Sears
    • C: #76 J. Wade
    • RG: #75 D. Joseph
    • RT: #65 J. Trueblood
    • TE: #81 A. Smith
    • WR: #80 M. Clayton
    • QB: #07 J. Garcia
    • RB: #34 E. Graham
    • FB: #44 B. Storer
    STARTERS DEFENSE
    • LE: #93 K. Carter
    • DT: #95 C. Hovan
    • DT: #71 J. Haye
    • RE: #90 G. Adams
    • SLB: #59 C. June
    • MLB: #51 B. Ruud
    • WLB: #55 D. Brooks
    • LCB: #20 R. Barber
    • RCB: #31 P. Buchanon
    • SS: #23 J. Phillips
    • FS: #28 T. Jackson
    SUBSTITUTIONS
    • 3 Bryant, 5 Gradkowski, 9 Bidwell, 17 Spurlock, 19 Hilliard, 22 Davis, 25 Kelly, 26 Allen, 29 Bennett, 32 Pittman, 39 Pearson, 48 Economos, 54 Chukwurah, 56 Nece, 57 Hayward, 58 Black, 68 Lehr, 69 Davis, 85 Stovall, 87 Heinrich, 88 Becht, 91 White, 98 Sims
    DID NOT PLAY
    • 12 McCown
    INACTIVE
    • 30 Crockett, 33 Darby, 35 Askew, 50 Trotter, 72 Buenning, 94 Spires, 96 Peterson

    INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

    RUSHING
    • BUCCANEERS: Graham 22-79, Bennett 9-63, Pittman 13-50, Clayton 1-0, Gradkowski 3-(-2).
    • FALCONS: Norwood 9-73, Dunn 8-32, Redman 1-1, Mughelli 1-1, Snelling 1-(-1).
    PASSING
    • BUCCANEERS: Garcia 25-15-109-1-0.
    • FALCONS: Redman 15-4-34-2-0.
    RECIEVING
    • BUCCANEERS: Graham 5-40, Pittman 3-20, Clayton 2-22, Becht 2-10, Hilliard 1-9, Galloway 1-7, Storer 1-1.
    • FALCONS: Robinson 1-18, Dunn 1-7, Jenkins 1-5, White 1-4.
    INTERCEPTIONS
    • BUCCANEERS: Barber 1-29, Philiips 1-2.
    • FALCONS: Hall 1-0.
    KICK RETURNS
    • BUCCANEERS: Spurlock 2-98.
    • FALCONS: Jennings 4-93, Norwood 2-32.
    PUNT RETURNS
    • BUCCANEERS: Hilliard 5-31.
    • FALCONS: Jennings 1-0.
    SACKS
    • BUCCANEERS: Adams 1-7.
    • FALCONS: Abraham 1-9, Davis 1-5.

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