for this game

Graham propels Buccaneers past Falcons

Sep 15, 2008 - 1:11 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- In what should be a tight NFC South division race all season, it's imperative to hold serve at home. And that's just what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did Sunday.

Earnest Graham rushed for 116 yards - including a 68-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter - as the Buccaneers recorded a 24-9 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons.

Brian Griese completed 18-of-31 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown as the Buccaneers (1-1) held the Falcons (1-1) to three field goals.

"We're 1-1, but there's a lot of football left to play," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said.

Making his first start in place of Jeff Garcia, Griese also completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to John Gilmore.

"There are some things we need to work on, to get better at, but it's good to do that after winning a game," Griese said.

After Atlanta pulled within 17-9 with 5:12 remaining, Graham's career-long 68-yard run sealed the Bucs' victory

"It felt good," Graham said. "It didn't look like an Adrian Peterson 70-yard run, but I made it. It still counts. I had some guys in front of me blocking and I was good for the last 40. I fought the last little bit."

Gruden quipped he hopes everyone keeps criticizing Graham for not having breakaway speed.

"He's a slow guy, I have to remind everyone he's a slow guy," Gruden said.

Warrick Dunn, who played last season for the Falcons, added a 17-yard touchdown run against his former team.

Griese's TD pass, Dunn's TD run and Matt Bryant's 33-yard field goal gave the Bucs' a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Falcons crept back within eight points after Jason Elam connected on 32-, 27- and 24-yard field goals, but Graham's run ended any thoughts of Falcons comeback.

"We did some things that were uncharacteristic, but we hung in there today big time," Derrick Brooks said. "To give up the points that we gave up against the Saints (a 24-20 loss last week) and today, to see Atlanta, and hold them to nine points, it's a tremendous effort."

Matt Ryan, who started the game with nine consecutive incompletions, finished 13 for 33 for 158 yards and two interceptions.

"We got off to a bit of a slow start," Ryan said. "No matter what happens you've got to go out there and continue to throw the ball and continue to make plays. Obviously you don't want to start 0-9 and throw two interceptions, but you've got to keep battling."

Ryan's third pass was intercepted by rookie Aqib Talib at the Atlanta 21 and five plays later, Griese found Gilmore for a touchdown.

"I think Matt saw a whole bunch of different things today," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. "For all our young players, not just Matt ... it's going to be a learning experience. This is just their second game as National Football League players so it's going to be a learning experience every time they go out there."

Michael Turner had 14 carries for 44 yards, while Roddy White led the Falcons with four catches for 59 yards.

"After you run for over 300 yards (against Detroit) the week before, teams are going to try to take that away from you the next week," Turner said. "We have to learn how to play through fronts like that and still get good plays off."

Tampa Bay's Ike Hilliard had a team-high four catches for 41 yards. Dunn added 49 yards rushing, including his 17-yard touchdown on a third-and-goal draw play.

"I pretty much just tried to make some guys miss and go to the end zone," Dunn said. "The guys did a great job blocking. I tried to set the blocks up."

The Buccaneers victory was their 12th in the past 16 meetings with the Falcons.

"It was tough, man," Falcons defensive end John Abraham said. "They came out to a good start at the beginning of the game and we couldn't battle back and get it close enough. They showed what good defense should play like and they played very good."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 3 3 3 9
    TAMPA BAY 7 10 0 7 24 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, JOHN GILMORE 5 YD PASS FROM BRIAN
    GRIESE (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:23.
    Drive: 5 plays, 19 yards in 1:52.
    Key plays: Talib 2-yard
    interception return to Atlanta 19;
    Greise 12-yard pass

    Sep 14 7:15 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    EARNEST GRAHAM 68 YD RUN
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    ATLANTA 9
    TAMPA BAY 24 3:08 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Falcons 9, Buccaneers 24  4th - 3:08Sep 14 7:06 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 29 roots

    Falcons 9, Buccaneers 24  4th - 3:08Sep 14 7:06 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    JASON ELAM 25 YD
    ATLANTA 9
    TAMPA BAY 17 5:12 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Falcons 9, Buccaneers 17  4th - 5:12Sep 14 6:56 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 29 roots (Close Finish)

    Falcons 9, Buccaneers 17  4th - 5:12Sep 14 6:56 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 3 3 6
    TAMPA BAY 7 10 0 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, JOHN GILMORE 5 YD PASS FROM BRIAN
    GRIESE (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:23.
    Drive: 5 plays, 19 yards in 1:52.
    Key plays: Talib 2-yard
    interception return to Atlanta 19;
    Greise 12-ya

    Sep 14 6:26 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    JASON ELAM 27 YD
    ATLANTA 6
    TAMPA BAY 17 1:03 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Falcons 6, Buccaneers 17  3rd - 1:03Sep 14 6:22 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 3 3
    TAMPA BAY 7 10 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, JOHN GILMORE 5 YD PASS FROM BRIAN
    GRIESE (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:23.
    Drive: 5 plays, 19 yards in 1:52.
    Key plays: Talib 2-yard
    interception return to Atlanta 19;
    Greise 12-yard p

    Sep 14 5:33 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    JASON ELAM 32 YD
    ATLANTA 3
    TAMPA BAY 17 0:17 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 3, Buccaneers 17  2nd - 0:17Sep 14 5:30 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 33 YD
    ATLANTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 17 9:07 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 0, Buccaneers 17  2nd - 9:07Sep 14 5:01 PM
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    alamowx Added 5 roots

    Falcons 0, Buccaneers 14  2nd - 11:08Sep 14 4:52 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    WARRICK DUNN 17 YD RUN
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    ATLANTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 14 11:08 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 0, Buccaneers 14  2nd - 11:08Sep 14 4:50 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, JOHN GILMORE 5 YD PASS FROM BRIAN
    GRIESE (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:15.
    Drive: 5 plays, 19 yards in 1:52.
    Key plays: Talib 2-yard
    interception return to Atlanta 19;
    Greise 12-ya

    Sep 14 4:40 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    JOHN GILMORE 5 YD PASS FROM BRIAN GRIESE
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    ATLANTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 7 12:45 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Falcons 0, Buccaneers 7  1st - 12:45Sep 14 4:14 PM
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    lapel Added 5 roots

    Falcons 0, Buccaneers 0  1st - 14:52Sep 14 4:10 PM
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    Falcons 0, Buccaneers 0  1st - 14:52Sep 14 4:09 PM
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    Dagrims Added 5 roots

    Falcons vs. BuccaneersSep 14 2:33 PM
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    Falcons vs. BuccaneersSep 14 11:45 AM