for this game

Falcons stymie listless Buccaneers

Dec 10, 2006 - 9:16 PM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Michael Vick didn't have to worry about another obscene gesture - not with Tampa Bay's R-rated offense on the opposing sideline.

Fullback Justin Griffith rushed for a career-high 57 yards and the only offensive touchdown as the Atlanta Falcons eased to a 17-6 victory over the inept Buccaneers.

Vick, two weeks removed from flashing an obscene gesture at his hometown fans that led to a $10,000 fine, had a rather pedestrian effort, passing for 155 yards with an interception and rushing just three times for five yards.

He didn't need to do much with the offensive woes of Tampa Bay (3-10), which on four consecutive possessions in the second half ran off a total of 14 plays and gained a combined 26 yards.

"Yeah, it was a grind. It could have been a bit better than it was," Vick said. "I think we missed out on some opportunities early in the game and we didn't take advantage of some opportunities. In the long run, a win is a win."

Atlanta (7-6) had to overcome the loss of starting running back Warrick Dunn and backup Jerious Norwood to injuries. Both were knocked out of the game in the third quarter - Vick with a calf injury and Norwood with a knee problem.

Griffith stepped into the void and carried 12 times, including a 21-yard touchdown run with 3:24 left in the third quarter that gave Atlanta a 14-6 lead.

"Good run, good blocking up front, nice move on the free safety there," said Falcons coach Jim Mora, who listed Dunn and Norwood as questionable. "Justin's showing what he can do in a lot of areas - running the football, pass protection. ... It was good to see him get in the end zone."

Griffith put a major juke on safety Will Allen on his scoring run, easily blowing by him in the open field.

"I can't take credit for that," Griffith said. "It's just one of those things we practice every day. Get into the guy's area, give him a head fake, and he's going to miss you every time."

Tampa Bay (3-10) lost its third straight game, during which it has been outscored, 75-19. The Bucs managed just a pair of first-half field goals by Matt Bryant to take a 6-0 lead at intermission.

But in the second half, they were so lackluster on offense that coach Jon Gruden yanked starting quarterback Bruce Gradkowski with 4 1/2 minutes to play and his team trailing, 14-6.

Atlanta's defense came up with the play of the game on the opening drive of the second half. John Abraham sacked Gradkowski, forcing a fumble, and Demorrio Williams returned it 54 yards for a TD and a 7-6 lead.

"It's hard to swallow that one," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said. "Defensively I thought we did a good job for the most part. Offensively, we started good. The turnover to start the second half and a couple missed opportunities ... in the passing game hurt us.

"We're just not playing very good offensive football right now."

Gradkowski finished 13-of-24 for 121 yards. Backup Tim Rattay was 9-of-13 for 83 yards and got stuffed on a quarterback keeper at the Falcons 2 as time expired.

"You know, coach made a decision there and after I fumbled that one, we really weren't moving the ball," Gradkowski said. "That's his decision and I'll just have to go with it. We weren't making plays so something had to change."

Atlanta improved to 23-1 under Mora when leading after three quarters.

"A good team win. A lot of guys contributed and we'll take it," Mora said. "Now we just have to get over it fast. We've got a game coming up Saturday night so that's what we're going to do."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 14 3 17
    TAMPA BAY 3 3 0 0 6 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - FG, MATT BRYANT 42 YD, 8:17. Drive: 10
    plays, 45 yards in 5:29. Key plays:
    Gradkowski 25-yard pass to Pittman
    on 3rd-and-7 to Atlanta 41; Alstott
    3-yard run on 3rd-and-3 to Atlanta
    31.

    Dec 10 3:51 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    MORTEN ANDERSEN 23 YD
    ATLANTA 17
    TAMPA BAY 6 3:14 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Falcons vs. BuccaneersDec 10 3:42 PM
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    Falcons vs. BuccaneersDec 10 3:42 PM
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    roots
    RUWTbot Added 8 roots

    Falcons vs. BuccaneersDec 10 3:32 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 14 14
    TAMPA BAY 3 3 0 6 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - FG, MATT BRYANT 42 YD, 8:17. Drive: 10
    plays, 45 yards in 5:29. Key plays:
    Gradkowski 25-yard pass to Pittman
    on 3rd-and-7 to Atlanta 41; Alstott
    3-yard run on 3rd-and-3 to Atlant

    Dec 10 3:10 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    JUSTIN GRIFFITH 21 YD RUN
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    ATLANTA 14
    TAMPA BAY 6 3:24 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Falcons vs. BuccaneersDec 10 3:03 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    DEMORRIO WILLIAMS 54 YD FUMBLE RETURN
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    ATLANTA 7
    TAMPA BAY 6 5:51 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Falcons vs. BuccaneersDec 10 2:44 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 3 3 6 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - FG, MATT BRYANT 42 YD, 8:17. Drive: 10
    plays, 45 yards in 5:29. Key plays:
    Gradkowski 25-yard pass to Pittman
    on 3rd-and-7 to Atlanta 41; Alstott
    3-yard run on 3rd-and-3 to Atlanta
    3

    Dec 10 2:14 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 23 YD
    ATLANTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 6 11:42 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons vs. BuccaneersDec 10 1:43 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 3 3 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - FG, MATT BRYANT 42 YD, 8:17. Drive: 10
    plays, 45 yards in 5:29. Key plays:
    Gradkowski 25-yard pass to Pittman
    on 3rd-and-7 to Atlanta 41; Alstott
    3-yard run on 3rd-and-3 to Atlant

    Dec 10 1:36 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 42 YD
    ATLANTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 3 6:43 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Falcons vs. BuccaneersDec 10 1:18 PM