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Desmond Ridder fuels Falcons past Buccaneers

Jan 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Desmond Ridder threw his first two career touchdown passes and Tyler Allgeier rushed for 135 yards as the Atlanta Falcons closed a disappointing season with a 30-17 victory against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Atlanta (7-10) scored all of the second half’s 20 points to avoid a solo spot in last place in the NFC South.

The Buccaneers (8-9), who clinched the NFC South and a home playoff game a week earlier, were largely tuning up for the postseason. Tampa Bay had 222 yards of total offense.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady threw for one touchdown on 13-for-17 passing for 84 yards in first-half action. Blaine Gabbert replaced Brady late in the first half. Gabbert ended up 6-for-8 for 29 yards and Kyle Trask was 3-for-9 for 23 yards.

Ridder, a rookie in his fourth NFL game, completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards without an interception. Allgeier had 24 carries.

Younghoe Koo had three field goals, including a 51-yarder in the fourth quarter, to help Atlanta end the season with back-to-back home victories.

The Falcons finished with a 6-3 home record and a season split with Tampa Bay.

Ridder’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Olamide Zaccheaus put the Falcons on top with 51 seconds to play in the third quarter. Atlanta stretched its lead to 27-17 on Cordarrelle Patterson’s 2-yard run with 8:07 to play.

There was a different tone for most of the first half.

The Buccaneers drove 70 yards on 10 plays on the game’s opening possession for a touchdown, with Brady throwing to tight end Kyle Rudolph for an 8-yard scoring play.

The Falcons were up 10-7 by the end of the first quarter. Ridder threw 2 yards to MyCole Pruitt for a touchdown and Koo booted a 49-yard field goal less than three minutes later.

The Buccaneers were back ahead by halftime, holding a 17-10 edge. Ryan Succop kicked a 41-yard field goal before Gabbert found Russell Gage for a 3-yard score with 1:46 left in the half.

–Field Level Media