Younghoe Koo’s third field goal of the game, a 51-yarder as time expired, bailed out Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder and gave the mistake-prone, first-place Falcons a 16-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
The Falcons (4-3) snapped an eight-game road losing streak and moved atop the NFC South ahead of the Bucs (3-3) despite Ridder losing three fumbles inside Tampa Bay’s red zone, including one that cost him a 12-yard touchdown run that would have put Atlanta up 10 points with less than four minutes to go.
Ridder’s fumble on a sack stopped the Falcons from breaking a 10-10 tie just before halftime. The young quarterback lost another fumble in the third quarter, one play after Drake London’s 13-yard reception gave the Falcons a first down inside the Bucs’ 1.
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The receiver nearly scored on the play, although he appeared to lose possession as he stretched out for the goal line. The Bucs challenged the ruling on the field that London was down by contact before losing possession of the ball.
The ball was placed inside the 1 after a lengthy replay, with officials ruling London’s hand came down out-of-bounds while he still had control of the ball. Ridder’s fumble on the next play was recovered by Bucs rookie YaYa Diaby.
Ridder, who threw for 250 yards without an interception, moved the Falcons into position for Koo’s winning kick after the Bucs pulled even on Chase McLaughin’s 36-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining.
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Kyle Pitts’ 39-yard reception was the biggest play on the winning drive.
Baker Mayfield threw for 275 yards, one touchdown and one interception for Tampa Bay, which scored on Mike Evans’ 40-yard TD reception in the first quarter and field goals of 24 and 36 yards by McLaughlin.
The Falcons played most of the game without rookie running back Bijan Robinson, who played sparingly and had just one carry for three yards.
Robinson is averaging five yards per carry and leads the Falcons in rushing with 402 yards on 81 attempts. He also has 26 receptions for 189 yards and two TDs.
There was no immediate announcement on why he did not see much playing time.
With the rookie standing on the sideline most of the game, Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson shared the workload as the Falcons finished with 156 yards rushing.
Falcons: LB Tae Davis left the game in the opening quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and was cleared to return.
Buccaneers: S Kaevon Merriweather (ankle) was helped off the field by trainers early in the second quarter.
Falcons: At Tennessee next Sunday
Buccaneers: Short week of preparation before traveling to Buffalo to face the Bills on Thursday night